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The Parking Lot Social Brings Drive-In Movies, Family Fun, and More to the Navy Yard

Car-a-oke, anyone? Socially distant fun is popping up next week!

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, this event has been extended an extra week! Read below for additional dates.


With so many events being canceled, the prospect of a large-scale yet socially distant event seems more exciting than ever. Next week, the Navy Yard hosts The Parking Lot Social, a five-day event that combines drive-in movies with art, technology, and spectacle. The event starts July 22 and goes through August 2, with the weekends (July 25—26 and August 1—2) being especially family-friendly.


Grahame Ferguson, one of the event’s founders, describes how this unique is event perfect for the COVID age. “Given that people will be restricted to their cars, this aspect of the event becomes super important. Think of it like a mini-festival that takes place right inside your very own car. We’ve used our experience in event production to design and build an amazing looking and completely versatile entertainment hub…. It’s a crazy night out that’s safe at the same time. You’ll be ‘socially distant’ but 100% together with hundreds of other funseekers.”


In addition to two giant 40-foot movie screens and a stage, look for fun features like a 52-foot tall rainbow-shooting fire hydrant, and two inflatable gorillas!


The event kicks off Wednesday, July 22 with an 18+ comedy night (sorry, kids), and follows up with 90s Night on Thursday, July 23, including Back to the Future II on two giant 40-foot screens at 9 pm. Prior to the movie, there will be a Throwback DJ on the main stage playing 90s music straight to your car stereo.  On July 30, it’s 80s Night with a DJ set followed by a screening of Dirty Dancing. Themed costumes are encouraged at both events!


Fridays, July 24 and 31, bring the real party with nights full of Car-A-Oke, Boom Boom Bingo, Silent Disco DJ Battles, Trivia Contests, and more. And if your older kids have completely lost their grip on bedtime and schedules (and really, who hasn’t these days?), Friday July 24 also features a late-night showing of The Fast and the Furious with prizes for the top three cars based on attendee votes. Note that the party and the midnight movie are two different ticketed events. And just added, another midnight movie on July 30, The Goonies!


The weekends (July 25-26 and August 1-2) are where things get especially family-friendly, so be sure to plan for those if you’re looking for some drive-in fun. Both Saturdays and Sundays from 1—3 pm, it’s Social Kids, with activities like The Big Family Trivia Contest,  Boy vs. Girl and Parent vs. Kid Silent Disco, Car-A-Oke, and Bingo. On Sunday nights, stick around for a classic drive-in movie experience for all ages: Grease. That’s right, you can sing along to “Stranded at the Drive-In” at a drive-in!


The Navy Yard venue will host up to 250 cars at each event, allowing for effective social distancing. All tickets must be purchased online, and there will be no on-site box office. On arrival, display tickets on the dashboard (or on your phone), and these tickets will be scanned remotely to allow a contactless check-in procedure.


Even though this event is designed to keep people separate, they have taken additional measures to ensure minimum foot traffic and avoid situations where too many people are out of their cars at the one time. One new measure they are including in their Philly tour stop is the use of “traffic light wristbands” separately colored for each attendee. Each color relates to four different 20-minute windows during the event, at which time the person wearing that color can leave their car (for food and bathrooms). Lines will also have social distancing reminders, and dedicated hand sanitation stations will be positioned all around the event site.


Tickets for The Parking Lot Social events are available online; and given how volatile and unpredictable things have been this week, they are offering a full refund if the event has to be canceled. All tickets are per car, not per person, so bring the whole family! The Parking Lot Social will be held in the Navy Yard at 4747 S. Broad Street in South Philadelphia.



Image courtesy of Parking Lot Social.

Contributing Writer