From left, Anne Townsend, Sarah Rea and Brad Rea pose for a photo Thursday, July 2 in front of the West 16th Street water tower where they will host a drive-in movie Saturday, July 18.

The days of drive-in movies are returning to Sedalia next weekend with a drive-in movie night hosted by the Rea Family.

Sarah and Brad Rea, owners of Rea Funeral Chapel, own the vacant land next to the water tower on West 16th Street across from State Fair Community College and next to Casey’s. Sarah Rea said she came up with the idea to make use of the empty land until the family constructs its new funeral home on the site, and decided to host a drive-in movie July 18.

“I knew there wasn’t much for people currently to do in town,” Rea said. “… I called Anne (Townsend) and said, what do you think about hosting a drive-in movie to give people in Pettis County something to do?”

There will be a 40-foot screen for guests to view the movie. After an overwhelming community response on Facebook, Rea said they are working to secure a second screen. There will be an area for those wanting to sit in chairs or on blankets that will feature speakers along with another area for those who plan to watch the movie from their vehicle and listen to the dialogue on the radio.

The film will be “Night at the Museum,” a family-friendly movie starring Ben Stiller that sees him working as security guard Larry Daley at the Museum of Natural History. An Egyptian curse is unleashed, causing the museum’s animals and figures to come to life after hours and Daley must find a way to save the museum.

The event is free but there will be a freewill donation to benefit DeFeet.org, a Pettis County suicide prevention and mental health organization.

“With everything that’s gone on with COVID, DeFeet isn’t going to be able to have their normal, big fundraiser this year,” said Townsend, who is the DeFeet treasurer. “This was a blessing in disguise because then we can promote this and get more funding from Pettis County.”

Townsend said DeFeet representatives will be at the event to provide information about DeFeet and mental health.

“We provide a lot of prescription assistance to people that can’t pay for their own medications like depression meds,” Townsend said. “… That was the big thing we learned as we started this was that there were so many people who were struggling that were like, ‘I do really well when I take my medications.’ ‘Why aren’t you taking them?’ ‘Well I can’t afford them.’ We fill so many prescriptions on a monthly basis and that’s where the majority of our money goes.”

Rea and Townsend said they wanted to choose a film that included Robin Williams, who died by suicide before the “Night at the Museum” sequel was released.

Concessions will not be available, but guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks; no alcohol is allowed. Guests are also encouraged to bring chairs or blankets if needed, but no tents will be allowed. Once a guest’s vehicle is parked, it will not be allowed to move until the movie is over.

The drive-in movie will be hosted Saturday, July 18. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. near Casey’s on West 16th Street and the movie will begin around 9 p.m.

For more information, find the “Cars Under The Stars (Drive-In Movie Night!)” event on Facebook.

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Nicole Cooke is the editor for the Sedalia Democrat, overseeing all newsroom operations and assisting with news coverage of Sedalia and Pettis County. She can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.

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