Alexandria launches drive-in movie series to benefit Virginia charities

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Alexandria Drive-In

If you missed the Wolf Trap drive-in movie series last week, don’t worry your quarantined heart. There’s a new drive-in series coming to Northern Virginia.

Behold, the Alexandria Drive-In presented by ALX Community and The Garden.

“Our members, neighbors and people we love around the city were all in a place where they don’t have any entertainment,” ALX Community Chief Operating Officer Kelly Grant told WTOP. “We thought, as people who love the city, that we would solve that problem. We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support that we have received.”

Movies will screen rain or shine every Saturday from Aug. 29 through Oct. 3.

The lineup kicks off Aug. 29 with the dino smash “Jurassic Park” (1993).

“One of our favorite movies that has kids of all ages being able to enjoy it,” Grant said. “We are almost sold out of that movie, so I really am grateful that we picked it because we think that it’s going to bring everyone together and have a really good time.”

Sept. 5 brings the beloved sci-fi comedy blockbuster “Back to the Future” (1985).

“An iconic film,” Grant said. “What a fun way for the families to be able to come together. … It hasn’t been out for a while but still is one of everyone’s family favorites.”

Sept. 12 delivers the toe-tapping animated family flick “Trolls” (2016).

“We really wanted to make sure that we had something that represented everyone,” Grant said. “The ‘Trolls’ animation movie is going to be awesome. The kids have already gotten so excited. Our members and neighbors voted on this one and they said this is one of the most important films that they were so happy to be able to see.”

Sept. 19 offers the magical fantasy baseball classic “Field of Dreams” (1989).

“Every single time I watch that movie, I think about my family and the dreams that they had,” Grant said. “It bridges the gap of baseball, as well as having this feel-good movie and opportunity to bring people together. It seemed like the perfect choice.”

Sept. 26 brings the immortal children’s flick “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982).

“Steven Spielberg is absolutely the king,” Grant said “‘E.T.’ is this wonderful, feel-good movie that makes us all dream. Of course, you’ve got the iconic ‘phone home’ [quote], so we are really excited to be able to see that.”

It all wraps Oct. 3 with the singalong musical “Mamma Mia!” (2008).

“I expect not only that people are going to sing along in their cars at ‘Mamma Mia,’ but they’re probably going to be dancing in the cars,” Grant said. “It’s so fun to be able to watch this musical come to life and it brings everyone upbeat and happy. We thought that was a perfect way to end our six-movie series.”

Where exactly will the screenings take place in Alexandria?

“5001 Eisenhower Avenue is the home of this gorgeous office building that has yet to be fully occupied,” Grant said. “It’s an enormous parking lot, the screen is huge and all the people will come in and be greeted warmly by us. … Our valet will show them to their very big, socially distanced space so they can enjoy the big screen.”

Curbside Kitchen will provide three food trucks, which will serve concessions delivered right to your car via the Alexandria-based electric bike company Pedego Bikes.

“They have agreed to be the runners of the food,” Grant said. “When you’re sitting in your car … you would order from an app on your phone, that will go to the food trucks, and as soon as your food is ready, somebody from Pedego Bikes is going to ride — instead of roller skates, it’ll be a bike — to your car and deliver your food fresh.”

What other coronavirus safety measures will be in place?

“At the heart of everything we did, we really thought about the safety of our guests,” Grant said. “It’s touchless entry when they come in. … Everyone is required to wear masks even at check-in. … We have several temporary bathrooms all over this space. Each of those bathrooms are attended and there are sanitation stations at each.”

The event costs $30 per car — not per person — with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit a pair of local charities: ACT for Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.

“We’re not taking even a penny,” Grant said. “[ACT for Alexandria’s] mission is racial equality, then Athena is a great nonprofit … going to disaster areas and teaching people how to use all of the scraps to get the tools they need immediately, like solar panels, so that people can actually cook, eat and make sure their homes are rebuilt.”

In the end, it’s just a great time for a great cause.

“We are going to have such a wonderful opportunity to be able to have safe, family fun,” Grant said. “It gives back to local nonprofits, it supports the community we love and it’s just a great way to spend a Saturday night at an old-fashioned drive-in.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Kelly Grant of ALX Community (Full Interview)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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