California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Hayward Residents Enjoy Free Summer Night Movies

Families gather in front of Hayward City Hall for a free movie night.

As a joint venture with the City of Hayward and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD), “Movies on the Plaza” hosts a series of four movies in the summer at no cost, aimed towards families, young children and simply bringing communities together.

Friday night was the first installment in the movie night series, with over 100 people gathered in front of Hayward City Hall to view “How to Train Your Dragon,” all the while enjoying a lively band performance, delicious smells of fresh popcorn and the warm summer air in front of a blow-up movie screen.

Nicole Roa, a HARD recreation supervisor for the past two years, said the event is a great opportunity for families to watch the latest family-oriented films at no cost and a chance to spend positive time with their children.

“The important thing is that we create a sense of belonging for the citizens we serve,” said Roa. “It’s important for us to create that family environment and bring them together for some good family fun.”

Esther Ramirez of Hayward, who found out about Friday’s movie from Facebook, has been attending the “Movies on the Plaza” events since the program began three years ago.

Ramirez said she is thankful her city offers events such as this one for children and youth.

“It definitely creates unity in my family to have nights together where we can relax, have a good time, and definitely not have to worry about the costs,” said the mother of five. “We all get to bond and have a lot of laughs and that’s important for me and my family.”

As an organization, Roa said, HARD aims to create community through their parks and the programs they offer, hoping to bridge members of the Bay Area together through activities and events that bring positivity and civic responsibility for one another.

“This event brings people downtown and offers safe activities for families in the evening,” said Kelly Morariu of Fremont. “This is my first time here, but it’s such an awesome event that we’re definitely coming back.”

For Roa, a CSU East Bay graduate and parent herself, providing an event at no cost for families is an invaluable service for the communities and residents should take advantage of the convenient and worthwhile services available to them.

10-year-old Juan Escobar of San Lorenzo, who is especially excited to see Despicable Me on July 29, came with his mom and two sisters and added that he enjoyed the event because he got to see a movie with a lot of his friends and made new ones.

“It’s cool because I can see my friends, watch the movie with them and meet kids from other schools at the same time,” said Escobar. “My mom is happy it’s free and I get to see a cool movie, so it’s just really fun.”

Hayward and the surrounding communities can see Despicable Me on July 29, Toy Story 3 on August 26 and Tangled on September 30 for the next three installments of “Movies on the Plaza.”

“We want people to just go out there and have fun on us this time,” said Roa. “Time with family is priceless, and we’re happy to give people a chance to experience that.”

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Hayward Residents Enjoy Free Summer Night Movies