Outdoor Film Festival Leaving Bethesda Area This Year

Mid-Pike Plaza, site of last year's Comcast Outdoor Film Festival.The 17th Annual Comcast Outdoor Film Festival for NIH Charities will be in Rockville next week, a year after returning to the area where it was established.

The festival, which will run from Aug. 16-Aug. 18 at the MCPS Board of Education headquarters (850 Hungerford Dr.), was held at Mid-Pike Plaza last August after two less successful years at The Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville.

For years, the event was held on the lawn near the Mansion at Strathmore. But organizer Bob Deutsch said he had to find a new location after that land (owned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) was sold off to make way for a luxury townhome development.

Deutsch said attendance at Shady Grove dipped to 1,500 from an average of about 3,000 in North Bethesda.

He brought it to Mid-Pike Plaza, where Federal Realty had yet to start major construction on its Pike & Rose development, last year.

Last August, Deutsch said Federal Realty has been receptive to the idea of keeping and expanding the film festival once its 3.4 million square-foot office, retail and residential development is complete.

Deutsch said he would ultimately like a permanent home for the festival, and Pike & Rose could be it.

“The ultimate vision as the property begins to develop is maybe to do some more smaller screens on different streets and move the festival in a more artsy direction. I don’t know that everyone shares it, but it would it would be more varied with performing arts and visual arts and multimedia,” Deutsch said.

The movies this year will all begin at 8:30 p.m. The gates will open at 4:30 and there will be games, music and food.

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