On June 27th I braved the murky, “shark” infested waters of the Texas Ski Ranch for Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow’s screening of Jaws, first reported here. After the quick sellout, Rolling Roadshow added more screenings throughout July, though I believe those screenings have also been sold out as well. And that’s no surprise, because this experience proved to be one of the more unique, rare adventures you’d be crazy not to grab hold when you get the opportunity.
Upon arrival at the Texas Ski Ranch, all of the business is handled up front. Two waivers are required for this event, one from the Texas Ski Ranch and one from the Alamo Drafthouse. You’re given a glow stick to wear in the water so the lifeguards can spot you, and your arms are covered in wristbands signalling admission, that you’re of legal age to drink, and optional drink tab wristbands. Once you’ve signed your life away, just cross your fingers you don’t fall prey to any “sharks” and step outside into the fun.
Though the screening began at sundown, shortly after 9pm, there was still plenty of entertainment to tide attendees over. Giant beer pong and bean bag toss set up in the grass, drink stations, a stage with a DJ and his two dancing sharks that often mingled with the crowd.
The very impressive portable screen sat upon an island, where Rolling Roadshow crew were hard at work prepping for the screening. The small island also appeared to be home to a trio of goats. Huh. Natural lawn care? Surrounding the island was the man-made lake in which attendees would descend in their inner tubes, but leading up to the screening it was filled with wakeboarders exhibiting their skills.
Once the queue opened for the inner tubes, the water was cleared of wakeboarders and a large shark fin cut through the surface closer toward the island. Once the shark fin reached the other side of the lake, attendees were free to enter the water if they dared. Those too afraid were able to watch from the safety of the beach.
Once Jaws began, a large cluster of floating viewers gathered toward the front and center of the screen. I imagine this may have made if difficult for the scuba divers to grab at us, as I only saw one surface once when the crowd dispersed. So the “sharks” were a bit quiet this night. It was more unnerving seeing the lightening and storms in the distance, and I’d worried they wouldn’t travel close enough to interfere with the event. Luckily it didn’t.
Watching Jaws on the water was far more peaceful than you’d think. The crowd full of content movie lovers, enraptured with the classic film, just floating along quietly on a calm lake. Everyone there was not just there for the experience, but for their love of Jaws, everyone cheering wildly at all the classic lines.
An exciting event such as this should always end with a bang, right? And the Rolling Roadshow delivered. The explosion of the scuba tank in the film coincided with fireworks, adding a special touch to the already very interactive screening.
One important lesson learned: I’m a tiny person not fit for one-size-fits-all giant rubber inner tubes. Next time I’ll bring my own. Though I’m quite eager to experience more of what Rolling Roadshow has to offer, so perhaps I’ll stay out of the water for a bit.