Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Newer members of the town council have advocated for new activities with a focus on families and younger members of the community for the last several years, and a vote Monday night will help that goal. Monday night, the Franklin Town Council approved a partnership with Ruby Cinemas to bring free outdoor movies to Franklin once a month.

“Pickin’ on the Square is a multi-generational event, with a niche market, and I think outdoor movies and this partnership will give the town the opportunity to reach  a younger crowd and younger families in the community, said council member Patti Abel, who has been one to champion for variety in the town’s sponsored events.

Town Manager Summer Woodard presented board members with the proposal, which would bring an outdoor movie event once a month to downtown Franklin, with the first one scheduled for September. If the event is successful this year, the town can partner with Ruby Cinemas to continue the event next year beginning in May and running through October. The partnership will cost the town of Franklin $500 a month, which includes funding for the movie rights, and for Ruby Cinemas staff to handle all of the logistics of setting up and hosting the event. The event will always be free to the public.

“Town of Franklin Partnership – My wife and I were excited when the Town of Franklin approached us about the potential of bringing our outdoor movie screen to downtown,” said David Parlier, owner and General Manager of Ruby Cinemas. “With this partnership we are able to keep costs low, provide free movies, and give back to our great community in a way that hopefully benefits many.”

Woodard proposed holding the movie in the town hall parking lot, which she says lends itself as a natural amphitheater of sorts. The movie will be in the back corner of the town hall parking lot, and will require the trees on the adjacent bank to either be removed or considerably trimmed. Council Member Joe Collins noted that he would like to make sure that the event is successful before the trees, which are older trees, are removed completely. Collins suggest trimming the trees for the two movies planned in September.

Ruby Cinemas will reserve the right to offer concessions for purchase during the town’s events. The town will be responsible for selecting the movies that will be featured, which Woodard said would remain between a G-rating or PG-13 family-friendly films. While Abel noted the event would help the town offer activities catering toward a younger audience, Mayor Bob Scott said he would like to see classics also featured to provide an option for older folks in the community.

Woodard proposed the event being held on the first Friday of every month, with the September date and movie to be announced soon.

Ruby Cinemas plans to hold outdoor movies all around Macon County. The first outdoor movie event is scheduled for next weekend.

“We currently have scheduled what will be our first official event on Saturday, Aug. 19,” Said Parlier. “The event will be held at the Macon County Soccer Fields at the Industrial Park with proceeds going to the Macon County Youth Soccer program. There will be a variety of soccer activities and challenges for the kids, prize giveaways, and a dance party put on by a local DJ before the movie. The fun begins at 6 p.m. with music and dancing, and the movie ‘The Sandlot’ will start at sunset.”

Parlier said he also has some events in the works around Halloween for some fun themed movies.

“This screen setup plus potentially some smaller screen sizes would be available to other nonprofit and or profit organizations,” he said. “I can work with any organization needing to simply rent the equipment for a few hours to developing / promoting a complete event.”