The Frederick Fairgrounds will once again be home to a giant LED screen and hundreds of cars as the Troyce Gatewood & Partners Movie Nights series returns in April.
The movie nights, which are produced by Frederick-based production company Showtime Sound LLC, were a popular attraction last fall, when the series ran for six weeks. This year, movies will run for one weekend each month between April and June, intertwined with the company’s Showtime at the Drive-In concert series.
“We had such a great attendance, and people seemed to really enjoy it,” said Brittany Flohr, executive assistant at Troyce Gatewood & Partners. “The feedback in the community was that people wanted to see it again.”
Real estate team Troyce Gatewood & Partners (TGP) is again the title sponsor, with other organizations contributing monetary donations and promotions.
Showtime Sound first came up with the idea for drive-in movie nights when the pandemic rendered its usual business — touring with acts such as Kevin Hart — impossible.
“Basically, everything got canceled, and we own all these speakers, lights and LED wall panels to do these big concerts, festivals and comedy tours around the world,” said Ashley Marie, social media and marketing coordinator for Showtime Sound.
The company typically produces the Great Frederick Fair’s concert series, and the team was disappointed they wouldn’t be able to do so again in 2020. In an attempt to bring some events back to Frederick, Showtime Sound worked with the Great Frederick Fair to get something on the calendar with just a few weeks turnaround time. The idea wasn’t necessarily to make a profit, Marie said, but rather to get people in the events industry back to work.
“Because when an event gets canceled, it’s not just us bringing the lighting, video wall, speakers, stage who are impacted, it’s also the people running the food trucks, the breweries, the parking attendants, security, the people that make the merchandise,” Marie said. “So many businesses in the community are impacted immediately when an event is canceled that you might not think about.”
One dollar of every ticket sale will go to TGP Gives, the real estate firm’s new charity. TGP’s mission is “to better [the] community through acts of kindness and generosity,” according to a press release. Last year, a dollar from every sale went to the United Way of Frederick County’s Unity Campaign, which was in turn donated to more than 33 local charities.
“Their angle, which really paired with our company philosophy, was how can we give back?” said Marie, referring to TGP as a title sponsor.
This year’s series kicks off on April 9 with an alien-themed double feature of “Lilo & Stitch” followed by “ET.” Saturday matinees will also make a return on April 10 with “Trolls World Tour.”
Vendors and food trucks will return for the drive-ins again this year, Flohr said. The new and expanded “vendor village” will feature local breweries, eateries and other vendors for attendees to peruse before or between movie showings.
Marie has been working on the marketing campaign for this year’s drive-in series since the second week of last year’s shows. While the events industry is still a long way from a full recovery, she’s thankful Showtime Sound has been committed to creating safe events for the community.
“With COVID, you really can’t make plans,” she said. “Things might have been fully opened up by now ... but because they haven’t been, we are still here to provide safe events for our community.”