PORTLAND – Julie Armstrong lounged in an inner tube at the Reiche Pool Friday night while her 4-year-old twins — Jack and Sadie — splashed and kicked a few feet away.

But Jack and Sadie weren’t laughing or squealing as you might expect. That’s because their mom had told them to be respectful of the other moviegoers.

In the pool.

“Isn’t this awesome?” asked Armstrong, quietly, as the film “Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove” played on the white cement wall behind her. “We get to swim, and watch a movie, and it only cost $5 for all of us.”

Armstrong and her three children were among the 16 people who attended the city’s novel recreation program, Flick and Float at Reiche Pool, on Brackett Street.

People paid a relatively small price — $1 for children, $3 for adults and $5 for a whole family — to watch the 100-minute film while floating on inner tubes, or foam noodles, or just bobbing up and down. Children under 7, or under four feet tall, needed an adult to be with them.

Armstrong said she didn’t really pay attention to the film, she was just happy to have a relaxing swim while her children were entertained. She said her family would probably take in the city’s next Flick and Float at Riverton Pool next Friday. The movie for that event will be the new Disney animated film “The Princess and the Frog.”

The city’s recreation department has not announced any Flick and Float events beyond the one at Riverton. But Armstrong and others who were at Reiche feel lots of families would enjoy taking in a movie in a pool, on the cheap, if they knew about it.

“I got an e-mail from the city, other than that I’m not sure I’d have known about it,” said Marie Benham of Portland, in the pool with her two grandchildren. “We all enjoyed it.”

When the film started at 6 p.m., the sunlight coming through the windows made it tough to see the picture on the pool’s white wall. But that gradually improved. By the time Willy the whale was freed from imprisonment at a theme park by a precocious little girl, the picture was sharp. As sharp as a picture on a cement wall can be.

Most people watched the film quietly, with little movement. Some of the smaller children paddled about once in a while to burn off energy. There were no refreshments. Two life guards kept watch.

“It certainly is different,” said Emily Sweatt, 23, one of the lifeguards. “But it’s a great opportunity for families to come out to the pool and watch a movie, too. That’s pretty cool.”


Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]


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