Broccoli City had to cancel its annual music festival due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So, it quickly went to work to give D.C. audiences something fun to do this summer.
“We tried to push it back to October,” Broccoli City founder Brandon McEachern told WTOP. “Then from what we saw in the news and just what was happening in the world, we thought that it would be best for us to go ahead and just cancel the festival altogether and put our energy toward … solution-based events that can be fun for the whole family.”
Thus, he partnered with Events DC to launch the drive-in movie series “Park Up DC.”
“What is an American pastime that never goes away?” McEachern said. “Everybody can enjoy a movie. I don’t care what side of the political realm you’re on, how old you are, your race, color, creed, whatever the case may be, movies is always a good look.”
The series unfolds over two weekends on the grounds of RFK Stadium in Northeast D.C.
This weekend from July 17-19, you can enjoy “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020), “Jurassic Park” (1993), “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” (2005) and “Friday” (1995).
Next weekend from July 23-26, get ready for “Paddington” (2014), “The Fate of the Furious” (2017), “The Secret Life of Pets 2” (2019) and “Love Jones” (1997).
“It’s been crazy right now … because you gotta think, everybody in the world is trying to do drive-in stuff,” McEachern said. “So it’s definitely been challenging getting licensing to the movies, so I’m super duper happy that we got the licenses that we did get.”
Showtimes are 7 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Double features are encouraged. You must buy both shows separately, but you will not be asked to leave in between.
Don’t worry about fuzzy projectors. Screenings will happen on a giant LED screen.
“We will not be putting the screen on a wall or anything of that nature,” McEachern said. “We’re putting up a 45-foot LED screen. I don’t know if this city has seen anything like this. It’ll basically be like you’re sitting in an IMAX theater.”
“It is $29 per car — I really need people to understand that,” McEachern said. “I have been to drive thrus [where] they charge you per person in the car. So when you get there, ‘It’s $15 for me, it’s $15 for Jason, it’s $15 for my lady and $15 for my cousin,’ versus at Park Up DC, where it’s $29 for the car, which we think is a pretty good deal.”
Whenever you’re outside your car, be sure to follow COVID-19 precautions.
“When you get out of your car, face mask always,” McEachern said. “The whole venue will be cashless, so there won’t be any exchanging of tickets in hands or anything of that nature. We’re really trying to sell everything online. The food will actually be delivered to your car, then when you go to the restroom … you gotta keep that mask on your face.”
Through it all, he appreciates Broccoli City’s partnership with Events DC.
“The good folks at Events DC [are] super great people,” McEachern said. “They were open when we came to them with this idea. They share the same ethos in terms of having a positive place for us to have socially-distanced fun. They’ve been an excellent partner.”
There are also plans to show live music performances. Until then, enjoy the movies.
“I can’t wait for people to go and experience it this Friday,” McEachern said. “It definitely is going to set the bar for drive-in theaters moving forward for the rest of the summer.”
What better way to keep the magic going until Broccoli City returns in May 2021?
“The reason why D.C. is so special to Broccoli City is it’s obviously the first place we did the festival. It’s the home of Broccoli City Festival, so D.C. will always have a special place in our heart. We wouldn’t be who we are if it wasn’t for the city of Washington, D.C.”