Miracle on 34th StreetBelvidere Park District hosts Sunday night movie series

By Kathryn Menue


BELVIDERE – “So stand with us and ask yourself one question. Do you believe in Santa Clause?” the character C.F. Cole asks in the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street.

For some children, this can be a tough question to answer, so the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, chronicles the mythology of Santa Clause to reinvigorate the belief he does exist.

To kick-off the holiday season and spark some holiday magic in the community, the Belvidere Park District hosted a Classic Movie Night at the Rivers Edge Recreation Center, located at 1151 W. Locust St. in Belvidere.

The Park District has hosted a movie night each Sunday night in November, showing The Wizard of Oz on Nov. 1, Milo and Otis on Nov. 8, The Goonies on Nov. 15, and, most recently, Miracle on 34th Street on Nov. 22.

The holiday feature began at about 4 p.m. and ended around 6 p.m. Although the latest movie did not draw huge crowds, the small audience did seem to enjoy the seasonal feature.

“The event was set up very well with plenty of seating and refreshments available. Miracle on 34th Street was a heartwarming and family friendly film,” one of the audience members said after the film.

While the audience watched the movie, they could enjoy some of the refreshments available at the concession table in the Rivers Edge gymnasium where the movie played.

This 1994 reinvented version of the classic, originally released in 1947, showcases the charm of the holiday season with an underdog department store, Cole’s, coming out of the brinks of bankruptcy with the help of their store Santa Clause.

However, the man playing Santa is no other than Kris Kringle, who does his job a little too well, to the dismay of the other department stores. Amid some competitive scheming, a rivaling department store looks to eliminate Kringle from the holiday picture. With a little love from his friends and a little bit of faith, Kringle may just renew the Christmas spirit.

The 1994 version’s storyline strays a bit from the original 1947 feature, but stays true to the essential morals and overall storyline of Miracle on 34th Street.

The movie also features a strong cast consisting of Richard Attenborough (Gandhi, Jurassic Park) as Kris Kringle, Elizabeth Perkins (Big, The Flintstones) as Dorey Walker, Dylan McDermott (The Practice, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as Bryan Bedford, and Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda) as little Susan Walker.

The movie was a great way to jump-start the holiday season just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Belvidere Park District would like to finish the Sunday Night Movie Classic features this upcoming Sunday on Nov. 29 with A Christmas Story. The movie will begin at 4 p.m. at the Rivers Edge Recreation Center gymnasium.

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