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The Mugler Plaza will be the site of free movie screenings through the summer, thanks to the Downtown Driggs Association.

The Downtown Driggs Association, which every summer hosts a slew of events including Symphony on Sunday, the Plein Air Festival, and Shakespeare in the Parks, is testing out another program, Movies at Mugler, to entice visitors and locals into spending time in downtown Driggs. Starting on July 16, DDA will screen free movies in the Mugler Plaza (also known affectionately as “The Cultural Hub of the Universe”).

With the help of the city and the Driggs Urban Renewal Agency, last fall DDA cleaned up the vacant lot between the Colter Building and Live Water Properties on N Main St. The plaza is named after a popular business owner, Fred Mugler, who perished when a fire destroyed several buildings in 2003. Now the plaza has a fire pit, lawn games, landscaping, and an art installation by sculptor John Simms.

“With Mugler, we fulfilled a desire to improve the appearance of downtown,” said Alison Brush, the DDA executive director. “Then we asked, how can we activate that plaza with fun things to engage the public?”

Brush added that for several years she and the DDA board had talked about free movie screenings in Driggs. Serendipitously, this year Shea Field, the owner of Teton Audio Video, reached out to the city and then to DDA to offer his equipment for some kind of movie series.

DDA chose to hold the screenings on Tuesday nights because during the jam-packed summer, those offer the fewest scheduling conflicts. With Teton Audio Video providing the equipment and expertise for free, DDA only needs to pay movie licensing fees. After an internal DDA survey netted a list of 25 popular movies, those were narrowed down to five: “A River Runs Through It,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “The Goonies,” “The Princess Bride,” and “Jeremiah Johnson.” During each movie, people are invited to vote on what they want to see on the final night, Sept. 10, which will be the People’s Choice Movie.

Brush said she hopes that 9 p.m. isn’t too late for families, especially since the list includes some kid-friendly classics. Attendees should bring chairs or blankets and are welcome to pack any food or drinks; there won’t be anything sold onsite.

In keeping with the DDA’s mission to support the local economy, there will be incentives for people to shop or dine in town before each screening. The details haven’t yet been hashed out, but stay tuned, and definitely keep your receipts if you eat at a Driggs restaurant or buy something at a Driggs boutique the evening of the movies.

“I’m so looking forward to it,” said Brush, who admitted she hasn’t seen “The Princess Bride” or “The Goonies.”

For more information on DDA and its other programs, visit www.downtowndriggs.org.

Schedule

9pm at Mugler Plaza - 40 N. Main

July 16 - A River Runs Through It

July 23 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind

August 6 - The Goonies

August 20 - The Princess Bride

August 27 - Jeremiah Johnson

September 10 - People's Choice

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