PHOTOS: Hundreds enjoy spring night at Mackle Park for 'Movies in the Park'

The screen lights up as the sky darkens. Movies in the Park returned Friday evening at Mackle Park, with a showing of the animated kid flick 'Fly Me to the Moon.' Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

The screen lights up as the sky darkens. Movies in the Park returned Friday evening at Mackle Park, with a showing of the animated kid flick "Fly Me to the Moon." Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— Movies in the Park returned to Marco Island Friday evening at Mackle Park, with a showing of the animated kid flick “Fly Me to the Moon.” Hundreds gathered on the playing field as the sun set, with blankets, lawn chairs, buckets of popcorn and the children, with the stars above mirroring the spaceflight theme of the movie.

“It’s kind of like a drive-in movie without the car,” said one woman, looking around at all the families gathered in groups in the gathering darkness. Children ran around, playing ball or just chasing each other, burning off a little excess energy so they could sit still for the movie. The Kiwanis K-Kids sold ice cream and hotdogs, and solicited book donations to help under-resourced children.

Some children were likely to leave the field fast asleep, never making it to the end of the film’s story of three houseflies who stowed away on the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. Andrew Lypen, 6, was already in his pajamas, having a great time. He didn’t know what the movie was, but that was okay.

Simena Rasheed went one step further. She brought pillows and a blanket, and snuggled in with daughter Ranya, 2, before the movie started.

“If she falls asleep, we’ll go,” said Simena, but didn’t address the possibility they might both be snoozing before the end.

Parks and Recreation supervisor Mindy Matusiak got the movie going as soon as the brightness of the sunset faded, and the kids – mostly – laid down their soccer balls and settled in. The fashion statement of the evening was glo-rings, which lit up young faces in a rainbow of neon colors.

“Fly Me to the Moon” features a free-spirited grandfather fly, who inspires the younger generation by telling how he rode across the Atlantic with Amelia Earhart, saving the day when she dozed off by “flying straight up her nose.” The soundtrack uses 60s-era songs including the Rascal’s “Groovin’ ” and “Going to the Country” by Canned Heat, giving the older kids some flashbacks.

Although the movie was about the adventures of a group of insects, the mosquitoes didn’t show up to watch, and there was nothing to mar the enjoyment of a beautiful evening outdoors, about as good as it gets for family-friendly fun.

Movies in the Park returns Friday, April 27 with “The Sandlot.”

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