Movies by the Bay begin this Friday night

Summer is (pretty much) here. Memorial Day has passed, school is almost done (congrats AHS Class of 2016!), and…

Alpena’s Summer Movies by the Bay kick off their season THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, 6/10, at dusk (9 pm) with the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz!

We’re off to see Movies by the Bay, the wonderful Movies by the Bay! (Not quite the same ring, but you get it).
The majestic screen. Normal cost: $10,000. Actual cost, thanks to community donations of time and supplies: $1,200.

These FREE Friday night summer screenings all take place at the Alpena Band Shell. Some other movies on the schedule for the summer include: Finding Nemo (6/17), Monty Python & the Holy Grail (7/1), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (8/12). (Serious snaps to getting all these film rights).

The full summer season.

Thunder Bay Film Society, which puts on Movies by the Bay, was created by Joe Rybarczyk, who after going to school to pursue a degree in filmmaking at Lansing Community College and the University of Michigan, felt that Alpena, his hometown, was lacking in opportunities to see films– especially independent and alternative films that you had to travel to Traverse City or downstate to see. After finishing school, Rybarczyk wanted to bring what he learned about cinema and the movies that moved him back to Alpena.

Movies by the Bay began last summer, showing three movies in August after they had raised sufficient funds (and constructed the screen from scratch). There is a lot of cost involved, Rybarczyk explained, and the whole project is truly a “labor of love for all those involved” who volunteer their time and talents outside of full-time jobs.

Future plans for the group? While they love the atmosphere of outdoor movies, the group hopes to eventually also have an indoor venue where they can show different types of movies, such as independent, art house, classic, foreign, and avant-garde films. For the near future, they plan on having a fall fundraiser to continue their free summer movies and to show Halloween and Christmas movies in the fall and winter.

In short, what the group ultimately strives to do is “facilitate a culture of appreciation for the art of cinema in Northeast Michigan.”

Matt Fitzpatrick’s artistic rendering of Movies by the Bay.

So this Friday night, come on down to the bandshell, grab a blanket and some snacks, and support the art of cinema in Alpena under the stars!

Want to stay up to date with Summer Movies by the Bay? Like their Facebook page at Want to get involved? E-mail them at Donations can also be made at

NOTE: An earlier version of this post didn’t give the artist credit for his rendering of Movies by the Bay, used for the featured image and at the end of this post. The artist is Matt Fitzpatrick.

Anne Gentry writes Blog Downtown Alpena in conjunction with Alpena DDA and will certainly be at this Friday’s showing– but may be most excited about Monty Python. Like the blog Facebook page here to never miss the scoop on all things downtown. 


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