CALGARY -- In a nod towards the gradual easing of restrictions associated with COVID-19, several groups in Cochrane are uniting to host a giant drive-in theatre.

Dubbed “Movie Under the Stars,” the drive-in is slated for June 6 at the expansive parking lot at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.

It is estimated the lot can hold 300 vehicles.

“I’ve been on record multiple times saying “stay home, be kind, save lives”, it is so nice to say something different now,” said Cochrane mayor Jeff Genung.

Moviegoers will not be charged an entrance fee, but are encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for the Cochrane food bank.  Pickup trucks will be parked near the gates where people can leave their donations.

“This is about giving people hope and optimism for the future,” said Genung, adding “it really aligns with what all of us have had to do in our response to COVID-19, and that’s go back to our roots.”

Upon arriving at the recreation centre, vehicles will be directed to a specific parking spot. People will then use the radio in their cars to tune into the audio from the movie.

Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre

Mayor Genung also encouraged visitors from other communities to attend the screening, “I don’t want to be the mayor that stands in front of someone being able to do business as we adjust.”

“Come and visit our community, we just ask you follow our guidelines that have been implemented by the province,” he said.

In keeping with social distancing policies, attendees will be asked to remain in their vehicles for the duration of the event. There will not be any washrooms or porta-potties available at the site.

Organizers said they would select the movie to be screened over the next few weeks.

Gates to the parking lot will open at 8:30 p.m. on June 6, with the movie scheduled to begin at 9:30.