Al fresco film viewing lights up summer nights

Bill Phifer and his family enjoy a movie from their convertible at the Delsea Drive-In, in Vineland, New Jersey on Friday, May 9, 2014. The theater shows two double features on separate screens starting just past sundown. ( Matthew Hall / Staff Photographer )

As a fan of film and also a fan of summer evenings, it sometimes gets to be a difficult choice when deciding whether to sit in a cold theater to see the latest blockbuster or to hang out by a bonfire and bask in its ashy greatness. However, the choice is simple: you don’t have to choose. Outdoor movie screenings are the perfect marriage of low-key nights under the stars and quality viewing. Grab some popcorn and learn about some al fresco entertainment.

Pay homage to an old-school pastime at Vineland, NJ’s Delsea Drive-In. Each weekend they hold double features—rain or shine— on their two screens and this weekend’s pairs are Maleficent and X-Men: Days of Future Past on screen one and Godzilla and Edge of Tomorrow on screen 2. Both sets of films start at 8:45 p.m. on Friday, June 6, Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8. The box office opens at 6 p.m. and it’s recommended that you get there early.

Back again is The Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design’s Film Al Fresco series where indie films and food trucks hit the Ben Franklin Parkway starting Friday, June 13. For the second year, Aviator Park shows selected films at sundown and viewers can enjoy chow from Mi Pueblito Tacos, Milk & Sugar, Tacos Don Memo, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Jimmy’s Cupcakes, Dapper Dog and Samosa Deb. The four-event run begins on Friday, June 13 with Assumption of Risk, where the protagonist realizes his employer can predict when people die and continues with Friday, June 27 and Friday, June 25’s series of short films and Friday, July 11’s Not the End of the World, about friends who missed the apocalypse.

Every other Friday starting June 13, Sandy Ridge Farm Market in Doylestown, PA holds a Movie Night Under the Stars. At dusk, families and kids are invited to show up in their pajamas and enjoy free popcorn. The next screening is The Jungle Book.

Mount Airy’s outdoor film series returns this summer with viewings on both Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. starting Friday, June 20. Friday night movies take place at the park by the Philadelphia Free Library Lovett Branch and Saturday flicks will show in the Trolley Car Diner parking lot. In the event of bad weather, all screenings will go on as planned but in the Mount Airy Presbyterian Church. The last two weekends in June (June 20, 21 and June 27, 28) have Frozen, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Beetlejuice and Now You See Me.

Awesome Fest, an outdoor movie series spanning seven weeks from Thursday, June 26 through Thursday, August 14 in Clark Park (43rd and Baltimore). All films begin at sundown (say, 8:30 p.m.) and some may not be suitable for younger audiences. Kicking off the program is the Philadelphia premier of Riot on the Dance Floor, a documentary about New Jersey club City Gardens and its promoter. Other Philadelphia premiers include Thursday, July 3’s Living Stars (people from all walks of life dancing), Death Metal Angola (two heads of an orphanage whose dream is to organize Angola’s first-ever rock concert) on Thursday, July 17, a Christmas in July party on Thursday, July 24’s Jingle Bell Rocks! (a look into the underground Christmas music scene) and Skanks (follows a community theatre in Alabama who performed an original drag musical) on Thursday, August 14.

Thursdays throughout July and August, starting Thursday, July 3, the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing roll out their big screen for some family fun screening along the waterfront. All films in this series are set to begin at dusk (around 8:30 p.m. or so). For July expect The Goonies, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Gravity, and Ride Along. In August, check out Jaws, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Frozen and The Lego Movie