Enfield: Chicken and a Movie for the Benefit of Children

ENFIELD, CT – The local zoning authority has given a popular chicken chain the green light to host three benefit movie nights this summer to ensure local children are fed for the school year.

On Thursday, the Enfield Planning and Land Use Commission voted unanimously 7-0 to approve a special event permit for the Enfield Chik-fil-A fast-food restaurant to host three outdoor movie nights on the restaurant’s grounds during the summer.

Colby Webb, the Enfield Chik-fil-A franchise owner, went before PZC to discuss the proposal, saying it was part of the chain’s desire to work on community causes.

“We’re doing something more unique this summer,” Webb told the commission on Thursday.

Chik-fil-A and the Enfield-based nonprofit Educational Resources for Children, Inc. — or ERfC — are collaborating on a project to provide potentially costly school supplies to children in need.

According to its website, ERfC is a “private, community-based, non-profit organization that provides academic, enrichment, recreational and cultural arts activities for students outside of school hours”.

On July 8th, July 28th and August 8th, Chik-fil-A will be out in the parking lot on Hazard Ave. 25, where Paramount Commons is located in Enfield, to erect a large, inflatable cinema screen.

The 24-foot by 16-foot screens will show family-friendly movies starting at about 8 p.m., Webb said.

While entry to the movie nights is free, Webb said they want visitors to donate school supplies and backpacks, which will be collected by ERfC and distributed ahead of the new school year.

“It’s sort of like a fill-the-bus, but without the bus,” Webb said.

Meanwhile, the drive-thru lanes at Chik-fil-A will be closed to accommodate the inflatable cinema screen, projection equipment and outdoor seating for about 50-75 people, Chik-fil-A said.

Food can be purchased inside for the July 8th and August 9th screenings, but the restaurant closes on July 28th to allow staff to see the film that night.

The three planned films are “Jurassic World”, “Encanto” and the classic “Back to the Future”.

Most PZC members had no problem with the proposal, although some questioned potential safety issues associated with using a plaza parking lot as an outdoor cinema area.

“My concern is that someone will pull into the parking lot and not realize you’re playing a movie there,” said PZC member Kenneth Hilinski.

Webb assured the commission that there would be signage, staff and other means to make it clear to anyone driving nearby that the property and drive-through are closed to traffic and movies are playing.

Satisfied, Hilinski and his colleagues easily voted “yes” for approval, paving the way for the benefit.

“It’s well thought out and I think it’s great that you’re doing that,” PZC Commissioner Virginia Hisley said at the start of Webb’s presentation.

To watch the full June 9 meeting of the Enfield Planning and Zoning Commission, visit this link.

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