WEST POINT — “Movies on the Barn” will be projected for the eighth weekend on the barn at the Kreikemeier farm located about 8 miles southwest of West Point.
The newest nonprofit entertainment offering that meets the coronavirus pandemic guidelines is the entrepreneurial vision of Brian Kreikemeier, his wife, Mary, and their sons, Chris and Connor.
When Brian has a creative idea, he has the will to follow through. Longtime friends say there is almost no idea that he can’t make work.
The Kreikemeiers coordinated their ideas with family, neighbors, local businesses and the community theater. More than 300 vehicles have driven into the movie-parking pasture so far this summer.
“One of the reasons for the drive-in movies was to give families something they could do since the theater was closed and they could stay in their cars,” Brian Kreikemeier said.
With the virus, social distancing, kids home with parents and parents home from work, a night out of the house with the family while continuing social distancing in cars offered a welcome reprieve.
As nature darkens the lights, an evening breeze whiffs through open car windows as popcorn-munching, pajama-clad kids and parents watch kid-friendly movies on Friday nights. The movies start at dark — usually about 9:20 p.m. — and many kids fall asleep before they find out how it all ends.
Saturday night movies are geared more to adults.
For some, it spans generations. Some older people wanted their children to experience the drive-in movies they enjoyed when they were young.
“We chose more comedies — fun movies — to lighten the spirit,” Brian said.
Two horses and a donkey moved out of the pasture to allow the 20 to 50 cars to park in their pasture. Inside the barn, a few chickens, cats and pigeons sleep away.
The gently rolling pasture provides a natural amphitheater for the film projector, which is focused on the big screen covering the side of the big, white early 1900 barn.
The multi-generational Kreikemeier family farm barn was built by Brian’s great-grandpa. As livestock was phased out, the barn was cleaned and used for age-appropriate family recreation, square dancing, teen rock ’n’ roll bands, grade school parties and Halloween. A few years ago, the family reinforced the structure.
After the first movie weekend, it was determined the barn’s chipped paint exterior “screen” needed a face-lift. Paint, supplies and machines were donated.
“All of the support of the local community was there. The community does this naturally. They step up when there is a need,” Brian said.
“Another reason for the drive-in movies was to give donations to groups that are hard-hit by the virus,” Brian said.
To date $3,384 has been donated with one more weekend coming up with matching funds.
“St. Joseph’s Villa could use money for masks and extra supplies,” Brian said. “Since the kids’ summer baseball program couldn’t do their money-making concession stand, they needed funds. The trails, which is used often during the virus, could use money.”
Connor Kreikemeier, a 2020 Guardian Angels Central Catholic graduate, does the tech work for screen projections. Audio is through the car, tuned to a low-power FM radio station.
Connor is planning a double feature as this weekend will possibly be the last for the season if the West Point Community Theatre reopens with social distancing.
The Friday night kid-friendly movie will be “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” followed by “Grown Ups” — for anyone who can stay up that late.
The Saturday night movie will be “Blended” and the second, “Step Brothers.”