Movies in the Park at Robbins Island

By Bailey Hovland

As spring gives way to summer, the Willmar Lakes Area begins to change. Fishing boats roll out of garages, ready for their lake debut during Minnesota’s fishing opener. Fresh grass clippings litter bike paths and sidewalks, evidence that the warm weather is finally here to stay. Local restaurants open their patio seating, perfect for splitting a few appetizers and watching the air transitions from golden yellow to periwinkle blue as the sun sets on another lovely Minnesota day.

As the sun sets over Willmar Lake, these three kids munch on some treats and enjoy a few trailers before the movie.

Out at Robbins Island, mowers cut across fields of grass, tolling up and down the hills to cover every square inch of the park. Lost Frisbee golf discs are discovered under bushes, on field edges, and occasionally up in trees. The new destination playground sits soundly in the middle of the park, ready for the summer’s influx of little visitors. The park is officially open for summer fun, which means there are exciting things headed our way.

This community park hosts a variety of events every summer, allowing for the community to gather and spend time with one another on the shores of Willmar Lake. One of the free family events is Movies in the Park. Started in 2014, Willmar’s Movies in the Park has been a way for locals to venture outside their homes on warm summer nights to enjoy a free, family-friendly film. Some of the movies in the past have included Frozen, Big Hero 6, The Goonies, The Little Rascals, Moana, and The Lego Batman.

A local family waits for The Lego Batman to begin, enjoying the free popcorn and pop provided at each Movies in the Park event.

This year, Willmar’s Movies in the Park has an exciting schedule. Beauty and the Beast (June 15), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (July 20), Coco (August 17), and Despicable Me 3 (September 21) will all be projected across the portable screen this summer. It’s a perfect blend of live action and animated movies that the whole family can enjoy. Beauty and the Beast will appeal to little princesses and princes, people who love to read, and anyone who likes actress Emma Watson. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will thrill video-game enthusiasts and action seekers with the movie’s dangerous twists and turns—plus, the Rock is in it, which is always a good sign. Coco will offer a narrative from Mexico, centered around a young boy seeking to prove his musical talents and traveling through the colorful Land of the Dead. Despicable Me 3 will showcase main character Gru teaming up with his twin brother Dru for a final criminal heist, and as always he is accompanied by his cheery and strange minion helpers.

A few younger moviegoers enjoy the bounce house from Fiesta Time Rentals before the show.

Along with a free film, moviegoers can enjoy free popcorn and drinks at each event as well as bouncy houses courtesy of Fiesta Time Rentals. Whether you’re looking for a new, creative date night idea or a relaxing (and inexpensive) place to spend time with the kids after work, Movies in the Park at Robbins Island is a great choice. So as the sun sets over the lake, highlighting the horizon with a color that’s not quite peach, not quite salmon, settle into your lawn chair. Drape a blanket across your lap and prepare yourself for an adventure with the Rock or a fairytale with Emma Watson courtesy of all the amazing sponsors that make this event possible. It’s going to be a great night!

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