Create Your Own Backyard Movie Theater

7-14 MovieOne of the most enjoyable things you can do with your family, relatives and neighbors is to create a temporary or permanent backyard movie theater. With the high cost of movies, and the price of concessions and drinks, it may be well worth considering this idea, even if just for the fun of a one-time event. Here are five things to consider when planning for an outdoor theater experience.

Types of projectors

First things first: You will need a projector of some sort. There are DLP and LCD projectors available. DLP stands for digital light processing, using mirrors for reflecting light. LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and is like the displays used for most home TV screens. What type you will choose is a matter of preference — and budget — and you will need to do a little research to decide which is best for your needs.

Screen possibilities

There are varying types of screens, from inflatable (costing $300 to $10,000 or more) to manual projection, pull-down types and screens on tripods. Doing a search engine comparison of these screens will provide you with many options to fit most budgets and lifestyles.

Sound speakers and amplifiers

What type of sound you want to provide is also a cost/quality trade-off. However, you can find many speaker systems at your local electronics store that will fit the bill. Consider whether you want to keep it simple, or whether you want full-blown surround sound. How much sound can your community handle where you live? How big will the event be? From small speaker systems — think old time drive-ins — to larger scale PA systems, there are many options to consider for any price range.

What about seating?

Are you going to provide blankets to sit on? Maybe lawn chairs? Folding chairs? Most movies are two hours or so in length; it’ll be important to consider your guests’ comfort.

Other things to consider

It might be wise to keep track of what the weather is going to be like on the night of your event. is a great website for forecasting several days ahead. Also, do you live in an area where bugs are flying about? Maybe consider little handouts of bug spray, citronella candles or some other form of mosquito control. Also consider setting up a self-serve vending area for popcorn and snacks.

Outdoor theaters provide great family and community fun, and make for memorable good times for all ages.

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July is Fun in the Sun Time

July EventsThe fun activities keep coming this summer at Merchants Bank. Check out the Calendar of events to find out what’s happening near you! Visit our Facebook page to see what’s coming or what you might have missed. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Calendar of Events
May 20-November 11 – Troll Patrol in Spring Grove, look for clues on Facebook or in the Spring Grove bank.
July 4 – Happy Independence Day.
July 4 – Eitzen Parade, noon, in Eitzen, MN  
July 5 – Onalaska Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event takes place at Riverside Park in Onalaska. Registration begins at 9 a.m.
July 7 – Cannon Falls Bears vs. Red Wing Aces starting at 2 p.m. The game will be played at John Burch Park in Cannon Falls. Come and cheer your team on.
July 10-14 – Winona County Fair in St. Charles. Merchants Bank in St. Charles sponsors the Winona County Dairy Cattle Showcase, Lions Food Stand, Entertainment Tent, 4-H Auction, and operates golf cart parking lot shuttle service.
July 13Lakeville Pan-O-Prog Parade, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
July 19 – Cottage Grove Community Appreciation takes place form 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove.
July 20-21 – Cannon Falls Art and Wine Festival, wine tasting takes place from noon – 4 p.m. both days. Art Show hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Merchants Bank is the title sponsor of the event at Hannah’s Bend Park.
July 24 – Rosemont Community Appreciation, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Don’t miss out on the fun time at Merchants Bank in Rosemount.
July 26 – Hampton Community Appreciation, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., Merchants Bank in Hampton.
July 27Rosemount Leprechaun Days Parade, 11 a.m.