NORTH ADAMS -- Organizers are planning a movie event under the stars at Harriman-West Airport tonight.
The film "Red Tails," involving an African-American fighter group during World War II, will be shown on the side of one of the airport's hangars. The door is being converted for one night only into a 90-by-22 screen -- the largest in the state -- to accommodate the event. Attendees are being encouraged to bring blankets and make themselves comfortable.
The screening is organized by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Doors open at 7 p.m., with a screening time set for 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $3 for children. A special "per car" package is available for $14.
North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, expressed excitement about the event in an interview Monday.
"It's basically setting up one of the hangars [at the airport] as the largest movie screen in Berkshire County," Alcombright said. "[The showing] is very, very neat and when [Mass MoCA Director] Joe Thompson came to me with the idea last year, I think it took about four minutes of conversation before I said ‘Yeah, let's do it.' "
Local vendors plan to sell food, soft drinks and beer and wine at the event. Veterans of the Tuskegee training program of 1944, featured in the film, will also be on hand to answer questions and to meet locals.
According to Alcombright, the screening is part of a larger initiative to promote the
"We really intend to grow the airport," Alcombright said. "[In North Adams], we have probably five or six things that make us look bigger than we are and one of them is an airport. It's one way to show our commitment. We want to build up community excitement around the airport, so what better way than to get people down to the facility."
In 2010-11, a runway at Harriman-West was removed and rebuilt at a cost of $7.3 million, enabled in large part by federal funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In a press release, Thompson promises "a spectacular film under the stars," where participants can "check out a lively airport scene."
"The first time we did it was last summer, and Mass MoCA got more visitors than expected," Emily Evans, a representative of the museum, said. "It went out so well that they decided to do it again. Joe [Thompson] owns an airplane, so part of the draw is the personal interest and passion behind it."
Alcombright said the prior event drew in flight enthusiasts from surrounding states, who flew in to take part in the showing.
The event has a rain date of Friday, July 6.
Harriman-West Airport is located off State Road at the left-hand turn before Stop & Shop, heading toward Williamstown.
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