As thousands of people watch the Summer Solstice parade snake up State Street, there’s likely to be as many as 2,000 more inside the Arlington Theatre, watching the United States soccer team take on Ghana in the quarterfinal round of the World Cup.

After hosting a free showing of last Wednesday’s 7 a.m. match between USA and Algeria that attracted about 500 people without any advance promotion, Metropolitan Theaters is doing it all over again this Saturday at 11:30 a.m., inviting the public to come watch soccer on the biggest of high definition screens — and all for free. And they’re doing it again on Sunday for the Mexico-Argentina match, and then again on July 11 for the World Cup finals, with other possible American matches as well, if scheduling permits.

“This qualifies as one of those events that seems to be enhanced with communal experience,” said Metro’s David Corwin. “It’s all about letting people have the chance to be together.”

The theater has put on a number of other free screenings recently, including the inauguration of President Barack Obama and the funeral of Michael Jackson, both of which attracted hundreds of people. This time, the idea was Bruce Corwin’s, David’s father. “My dad’s been pushing it,” said the younger Corwin. “He’s really been taken in by all the pageantry of the World Cup.”

The theater’s typical food and drink will be on sale, and for the thirstier soccer fans, the patio will be opened to sell alcoholic beverages and also feature TV screens to show off the American squad live. That should provide a good opportunity for all types of World Cup watchers, including families with young kids. “Going to a bar is not the place for families, so this provides an alternative to that,” said Corwin.

Corwin isn’t sure whether the simulataneous Solstice parade will help or hurt attendace, but he’s not too concerned. “Whoever comes comes,” said Corwin. “It’s just fun to be able to do something like this.”


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