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Alfresco movies, dining in the park

Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and popcorn. Enjoy a movie on Largo Central Park's new big screen.

Starting Feb. 18, the park will screen free weekly movies on Friday nights. The movies start at 7 p.m.

All the movies are rated PG. The Recreation, Parks and Arts department surveyed its staff to narrow down potential movie selections.

"We were looking for family-oriented movies," marketing specialist Christina Rohloff said.

City staffers will ask movie trivia questions children can participate in, such as, "What was the lead star in E.T.?"

Before showing Spy Kids 3-D, the staff will hand out 3-D glasses to the audience. The animated hit, Shrek, will kick off Largo Central Park's 10th anniversary celebration.

Bright House Networks donated $13,000 for the 15- by 20-foot screen. The license fees the city will pay range from $150 to $180 per movie.

Many years ago, the city projected movies on a trailer in the park.

"Now that we have a screen, we're hoping to draw the same amount of people we've had in the past," Rohloff said.

Before watching the movie, the public can also take advantage of the weekly picnics in the park, which start at 6 p.m. While themed melodies play throughout the park, people can picnic at tables adorned with checkerboard cloths.

Between 50 and 75 people are showing up for the weekly picnics.

"People are just loving them," Rohloff said. "They're sharing food from shelter to shelter."

Refreshments will be on sale. Alcohol is not permitted. Limited on-site parking is available, or park and walk from Largo Central Elementary, Largo Middle School and Largo High School. Call 587-6775 for more information.

Shannon Tan can be reached at shtansptimes.com or 445-4174.

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