Published in the May 6, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Good news for Wakefield movie-goers!

Residents and people from surrounding towns can look forward to more family friendly “Movies by the Lake” starting Thursday, July 11, on the Lower Common.

“This popular tradition got its start in 2015 by Wakefield Community Access Television (WCAT) as a way to connect with the community and provide an event that people could look forward to each year,” said Ryan Boyd, WCAT senior producer.

Award-winning movies shown in previous years have included “Back to the Future,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Ghostbusters” and “Moana.”

Though this season’s film titles cannot be announced due to contract stipulations with Swank Motion Pictures, Ryan did provide descriptions of each:

The Thursday, July 11 kick-off film is a 1971 classic featuring characters “Charlie” and “Grandpa Joe” as they tour a world-famous candy factory.

The second, on July 18, is an animated movie that will feature super villain “Gru” as he hatches a plan to shrink and steal the moon.

On July 25, video game bad guy “Ralph” and fellow misfit “Vanellope von Schweetz” must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game “Sugar Rush.”

The film series will continue on Aug. 1 when an archaeologist is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant in this 1981 adventure.

The final film will be held on Aug. 8 and feature a magical nanny who returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.

WCAT hires a third party to set up and break down the equipment needed to show the films on specified Thursday nights. A crew usually arrives around 5 p.m. and movies start at nightfall ( around 8:30 p.m.) when it grows dark enough to see the screen. As soon as the movie ends, everything is taken down.

Boyd said that when “Back to the Future” was shown, a DeLorean movie replica was placed on the Lower Common so people could have photographs taken with the famous vehicle. Last year, WCAT’s very own “Moana” attended to pose for pictures.

Boyd said that since 2015, attendance has increased each year. “In 2015, we had crowds of between 200 and 250. Last year, the crowd grew to close to 400.”

In the event of inclement weather, there will be one rain date at the end of the summer (Aug. 15).

“Our hope is that we will not need it and that there won’t be more than one,” Boyd said.

“Movies by the Lake is paid for by generous sponsors each year,” he continued. “The license for each of the movies, screen and sound system rental and any extras like cosplayers, movie vehicles or photo booths all cost money.” Those interested in sponsoring Movies by the Lake should call 781-224-0300 or visit

If local businesses and groups are willing to sponsor the series, WCAT is able to ensure that the public can enjoy the movies for free. All are welcome to attend, whether from Wakefield or surrounding towns.

Boyd wants residents to know that what they have to say is important.

“That’s why we continue to do what we do. We provide an outlet for people to express themselves, whether it be through television, podcasting, volunteering or simply joining us a few summer nights every year. We’re here for you. When you see us at the movies come say ‘hi.’ Share your ideas. This is your community, your voice.”

WCAT has also been floating an idea concerning a possible film festival. “It’s still in the very early stages, and we’re trying to gauge the amount of interest people in the community would have. There are a lot of logistics that we would have to work out first. But if the interest is there, I think you’ll see it come to life.”

In conclusion, Boyd commented that summer is about enjoying the outdoors together. “Wakefield takes pride in the events it provides for the community. WCAT is honored be a part of that,” he said. “These movie nights create memories that families and friends can carry with them well into the future. If you’ve never made it to one, I encourage you to try. It’s a blast!”