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Open air cinema at the Kent Showground with Dirty Dancing by Kings Hill based Alfresco Events

By Angela Cole

If the 80s film Dirty Dancing came on the tele on a Sunday afternoon, I'd probably make a cup of tea, watch about half and then go and do something else.

But watching it at an open air screening, surrounded by like-minded viewers all knowing the lines, and enjoying the same moments, it's a whole different experience.

On Friday night, hundreds brought their picnic chairs and snacks, plus blankets for when the sun went down, and settled in for an evening of pure 80s pleasure, with Patrick Swayze in his prime and Jennifer Grey as Baby.

Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing

We collectively wished we'd carried a watermelon; we wished we'd had to learn the dance with Johnny, and finally, we all whooped with delight when he said masterfully ..."Nobody puts Baby in the corner."

With the sun setting behind the 40ft screen, and the ease with which we parked, queued for the food stalls and popped to the toilets, it was hard to believe 80,000 people plus livestock and attractions had tramped through this setting at the Kent Showground in Detling less than a week before.

As we sang and cheered together, some people also danced, though no-one knocked themselves out doing "the lift" like the couple who hit the headlines earlier this week!

Catch open air cinema across Kent this summer
Catch open air cinema across Kent this summer

It's a pure summertime joy to attend one of these open air events, mixing socialising with a little bit of culture, and leaves you with a feeling like you're on holiday (the picnic chairs help), and the Kent weather has been kind so far.

This year is the second year Alfresco Events, run by local mums Joanna Hillcock and Lucy Cumming, have staged open air cinema, launching at Kings Hill last year.

It's open air cinema season
It's open air cinema season

With this, their second venue under their belt, the organisation of the event was first class - we were even offered free bags when we arrived, which we all snapped up!

There are showings of Top Gun starring Tom Cruise and Pretty Woman, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in August at Kings Hill Sports Park, on Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 4.

alfrescoevents.co.ukTickets cost £13 online. To book go to

Pull up a deck chair: Open air theatre across Kent

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