The Star Drive-In Theatre in Montrose is set to host a pair of events this weekend and next. This Friday, May 22, will be Census Night, an event provided by Montrose County, paid for with a grant. Admission is free to the public.

Then next Thursday, May 28, the drive-in will be closed to the public to host a Senior Safe Party for Montrose High School seniors.

Last year, the county was awarded a DOLA (Department of Local Affairs) grant. Montrose is the host of a complete count committee for the Census. With the grant, the county can provide events for the Montrose community, and can reach hard-to-count populations such as individuals who are English language learners, migrant families, those who live further out and others who have challenges accessing reliable internet.

The grant was awarded to allow the county to create events and notify those individuals to make them aware of the Census.

“[Census] is incredibly important for our community as a whole,” said Katie Yergensen, media relations manager for Montrose county. “Individuals count. Everyone counts in Montrose county.”

The grant dollars are planned out as part of the committee. The county had events scheduled from March through May this year, but those plans had to be restructured due to COVID-19. Census Night represents a revamp of those marketing efforts from the county.

“The grant dollars helped fund this event to raise awareness for the importance of the Census within our area,” Yergensen said.

Yergensen noted a few primary reasons for the importance of the Census in Montrose County: individuals counted are tied to federal funding, and it affects political representation. It is possible, Yergensen indicated, that as a result of the Census, Colorado could receive another political representative.

“We are wanting to encourage people to fill out the Census,” Yergensen said. “It’s safe, it’s easy to do, and it helps out our community.”

Regional Census representative Amina Uben will be present at the event. Uben told the Montrose Daily Press she will be there to assist community members who have questions about the Census.

Census materials and swag will be distributed at the event that contains education on how to respond on the Census, and why it’s important to respond as a community.

For the Senior Safe Party, parents are honoring seniors in the graduating class of 2020. The event is for seniors only.

Sara McCombs, parent of Madison Satterly, a 2020 graduate, leads a committee of parents who are organizing the party.

After the school district finalized its decision to go ahead with a drive-through graduation ceremony, the committee scrambled to put the event together. McCombs approached Pam Friend, owner of the drive-in, about using the venue for the evening. Friend was more than willing to help.

“We’ll support a small business here in Montrose, but also we’ll be celebrating the Montrose seniors,” McCombs said.

McCombs noted there will be 15 to 20 parent volunteers during the event. The parent volunteers will help with a checklist to make sure who’s present, assist with prize drawings and monitor the students to make sure they are abiding by Friend’s rules and guidelines.

Prizes will be handed out prior to the first film and during intermission. The prizes will be given with social distancing in place.

Two movies — “Onward” and “Call of the Wild” — will be played for the students during the safe party.

Friend said this gives the students a chance to experience and enjoy a safe gathering together while having the chance to win some prizes, just like they normally would at a traditional senior safe party.

McCombs indicated the parent committee has already received donations and support from local businesses and community members. The committee is still seeking prize donations or funds to purchase prizes. Many of the prizes include items the graduates can take to college.

The committee has already received donations so the students can use the concession stand at the drive-in, which McCombs is grateful for.

“We love how this community rallies around the kids,” she said. “We’re just going to celebrate them and we're going to have some fun that night.

“We’re really grateful to Pam and her willingness to do this for the kids and the community,” she added.

The ticket office opens at 7:15 p.m.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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