Everyone is always invited to come out and watch a free outdoor movie in Greensboro, but now Greensboro Downtown Parks is making sure that everyone has the ability to do so. In collaboration with InFocus Advocacy, Greensboro Downtown Parks will hold its first “sensory-friendly” movie night with a screening of the PG-rated movie “Ferdinand” in LeBauer Park.

Under the new program, on Friday night, June 14, Downtown Parks will make the viewing accessible to all – and the group has taken just about every step imaginable to meet that goal.  Those in wheelchairs will have easy access.  Those who are hearing impaired will have a variety of closed caption options.  Those who experience an intense reaction to certain pulsing light patterns will have options as well.  There will also be a prescreening available for those with any concerns about the movie and there will be safe spaces at the movie night for those who experience anxiety in crowds.

Amanda Miller, the director of programs and marketing for Greensboro Downtown Parks, said this week that the goal of the movie night’s inclusion program is to remove barriers that can keep people from coming to the show. That means making the environment friendly for those who face a wide range of challenges.

“We want all movie nights to be accessible to and inclusive of our entire community,” Miller said.  “This night will be a test-run of how we can create an experience in an environment better designed for people of all abilities.”

With the help of self-advocate consultants from InFocus – a group that attempts to enhance the lives of those with disabilities, park staff have developed the new program meant to remove barriers that could keep someone from participating.

For instance, Downtown Parks will offer pre-screening access of the film for people who are concerned about unique sensory triggers, and there will be designated Calming Spaces “for anyone experiencing stress or sensory overwhelm during the screening.”

For the showing, wheelchair-friendly paths will be established to allow easy access to and from the center of the viewing area – rather than merely along the perimeter.

Additionally, Greensboro Downtown Parks will have Park Ambassadors present – people who have been trained in offering assistance with “dignity and respect” to those with special needs.

Thanks to the sponsorship of UNC-Greensboro, the movie night is free and open to everyone.  The park’s lawn opens for seating at 5 p.m., and the film will begin at about sunset.

“Ferdinand” is an animated film about a bull with a heart of gold who’s taken from his family,