“We brought a little bit of yesterday back to today with the events,” said Somerset Patriots Co-Chairman Jonathan Kalafer. “It had the classic feel of the old drive-in movie experience, while being able to give everyone a chance to enjoy a night out together. I know our staff worked really hard to put the two nights together for our community. It was extremely well done and received great reviews all around.”
The Ballpark Drive-In hosted two showings of the popular baseball classic The Sandlot on Friday and Saturday. Both events sold out within minutes of going on sale after a strong push of social media promotion that reached over 50,000 people in days. The combination of the novel idea, along with people’s desire for events, were the driving force for the concept’s success.
The Somerset Patriots were able to welcome 115 cars on each night to allow for social distancing and best viewing of the screen. HomePlate Catering and Hospitality, the ballpark’s concessionaire, provided packages of movie treats that patrons were able to pre-order and pickup in accordance to the safety measures put into place for handling food.
With the baseball season currently on hold, the Somerset Patriots have been looking for safe and fun ways to use TD Bank Ballpark for the community. In addition to the movies, the team is coordinating a Drive-In Fireworks Night on Friday, June 19th that also already sold out.
These popular events were all designed as fundraisers for health care workers through the RWJBarnabas Health Emergency Response Fund. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bridgewater-based minor league franchise was able to raise thousands of dollars for their official health care provider.
“We wanted to give our community a chance to enjoy some nights out after a very long few months,” said Somerset Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry. “In doing these events, we also wanted to help our health care heroes at RWJBarnabas Health, who are doing unbelievable jobs for all of us on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.”
With the success of the Drive-In Movies, the Somerset Patriots will be announcing future events in the coming days. Due to popular demand, plans are in place for another viewing of The Sandlot on Thursday, June 25th, followed by back-to-back nights of Rookie of the Year on Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th. All three shows are expected to begin at 9:00 pm with tickets going on sale in the coming days.
“I had the chance to enjoy the drive-in experience with my family on Saturday night,” said Somerset Patriots Co-Chairman Josh Kalafer. “It was beautiful to see families together again at the ballpark with something so simple as a movie night. Seeing the smiles back on people’s faces after the past few months felt good and encouraged us to want to continue to do as much as we can to bring joy the ways we can now and hopefully getting baseball back as soon as possible.”
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