The Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater is on a mission to provide the citizens of Corpus Christi with more outside-of-the-norm entertainment. Instead of packing into an air-conditioned theater to catch the next Michael Bay abomination, the Ride-In Theater offers the community with an option to interact with the community, while also enjoying downtown and what the Bayfront has to offer.
"Ride-In started because the founders were tired of headed to Austin and other places north to see quirky outdoor screenings that included a bar, food trucks and other fun," said Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater co-founder Joe Hilliard. "If 'they' can have it, why can't we? So we created it. Over the many months, hundreds have come out to enjoy the fun along with us."
Hilliard says that the group wants to showcase a variety of quirky films ranging from films that would attract children (i.e. this month's title: The Sandlot) to films that would not (The Birds).
"We do a Christmas or holiday themed film in December and a horror themed film in October. Outside of that, there is no formula," said Hilliard. "We throw titles around in a group meeting and the one that makes everyone go, "YES!" is the one we go with."
This quirky idea has been catching on with the community, with more and more people attending the screenings each month.
"People really look forward to it every month and it's very rewarding. I think the only way we could make it better is for more people to talk about the Ride-In Theater. A lot of people in our community don't read the paper, or don't watch the news, so they have no idea," said Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater board member Kira Hays. "Word of mouth is the best advertisement. So we hope that after people attend a screening, they tell their friends and family and bring them along next time."
Word of mouth is one thing, but according to Hilliard, there is some unknown reason why people in Corpus Christi don't like to try new things.
"That has been a strange obstacle. They believe that movies should be in a theater or, maybe, at Cole Park for kids," said Hilliard. "But once anyone has given Ride-In a try, they come back again and again."
So here's the deal: We've all heard someone we know say the words, "Support local," right? While it's great to do so, that just doesn't mean to support your local retail stores or restaurants. It means to get out and enjoy the community you live in and all of the things it has to offer. And believe me, Corpus Christi has tons to offer.
"I think it's just a stepping stone. We have Art Walk, Market Days, and other festivals that happen throughout the year," said Hays. "Just because there's not something going on every night, doesn't mean that there isn't ever anything to do here."
Well said, Kira.
So "support local", and think about attending the next Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater screening. It seems as if their titles are getting more and more nostalgic and fun as they go on, which is fine with me. This month they're showing The Sandlot. And I've loved that movie, for like, FOR-EV-URRR!
"I'd love to reach 1000 people at this month's screening. We had about 400+ at last month's, so I'm hoping we'll surpass that number with "The Sandlot,'" said Hays. "So, TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY! Bring your aunt, uncle, cousins, dogs, cats! Everyone is welcome!"
Mark your calendars, boys and girls: Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater will hit the ball field at 8 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 28 at the Corpus Christi Watergardens. Admission is free.