This year’s Sidewalk Film Festival looks a bit different. To allow for social distancing, the festival is being held at the Grand River Drive-In in Leeds. I went earlier this week and learned a few things I might do differently when I head back this weekend. Here are 3 things to know before heading to the festival tonight or tomorrow.
1. Figure out your seating arrangements before you go 🚘
So going into the festival, we had an idea of how we’d be sitting during the movie, but I wish we would have tested our theory out beforehand. We were going to be there for two-hours so having comfortable seating was really important.
Our plan was to back into a spot and sit in the back of my car. I drive a Kia Sorento, so we could lay down the middle seats for more room. It worked well at first but not even halfway through, we had already flip-flopped to be on our bellies with our heads at the back of the car.
At that point, I kind of wished we had brought a blanket or lawn chairs. When you arrive at the festival, before you park, they ask you to skip a parking spot. So each carload can set up their chairs, blankets, etc. in the parking spot to their left. This is what I wish we would’ve done instead.
- Drive a big car with plenty of room in the back to sit (Bonus: Make sure to also bring lots of pillows and blankets to pile in the back.)
- If you don’t have a big car, bring a blanket or lawn chairs to sit on in the parking spot next to you.
2. Get there a bit early 🕗
The short film series we went to see started at 8PM. We got there right at 8PM on the dot. There were ads and previews before the show started, but by the time we parked and set up in the back of the car, the first film was coming on. So we missed the entire first film and half of the second to go to the bathroom and grab some concessions.
I would recommend getting their 10-15 minutes early. That way you have plenty of time to set up, go to the bathroom, get something to eat or drink from the Snack Shack and scan the program before the show starts.
*Reminder: The drive-in is located at The Outlet Shops at Grand River in Leeds. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Downtown Birmingham so plan accordingly.
3. Wear closed-toed or comfy shoes 👟
If you’ve looked at the Sidewalk Film Festival site, you’ve probably seen them mention this tip. Well, I didn’t listen! And I wish I had! Wear comfy shoes, and not like flip flop comfy, like tennis shoes comfy.
Most of the lot is gravel and the Snack Shack is a good ways away from each screen. It wasn’t unbearable or crazy difficult, but it is something I pondered while getting ready and actively chose not to do. It’s small, but I’d probably not do that again. It just makes for a better experience.