Sheltered-in-Place. Quarantined. Locked down. What are we to do to keep our sanity and maintain our livelihoods?
One Yakima couple has pivoted from their established business into something new and different that sweetly and smartly answers those questions.


Ernie "Big Ern" Lara Jr., along with his wife, Erin Elyse, have forged a unique experience that complies with stay home edicts and still provides for the happiness and well-being of all.

They call it "Movies Under the Stars" and it's quite brilliant.

Ernie was born in Pasco, WA and was moved to the Yakima Valley around the age of five. His family settled in Prosser and Big Ern graduated as a Mustang in the spring of 1994. He entered the professional workforce doing customer service for the then Future Shop (now Best Buy) in Yakima before finally representing a major telecom company.

In his own words, Ernie "loved my customers". If it weren't for his friendship with Yakimanian and now Nashville-based Country music singer Monte James he may have been happy there. On a fateful evening, Monte asked Ernie to cover his karaoke show at a local establishment on North First St. Ernie, who had sat-in on a number of gigs, happily obliged his buddy. Following the evening's conclusion, the bar owner asked that Ernie not host another karaoke gig there.

Big Ern took it to heart. In the best way. He determined for himself that he was either going to learn from his experience and get better, or fold his tent based on one nay-sayer. He chose the former. Good call, Ernie. He turned entrepreneur and took his knowledge to create Big Ern Productions.

Since then, he has personally MC'd hundreds of wedding receptions, karaoke shows and the like, to the point where he has been able to sub-contract other local DJs to bring a top-notch experience. Then... 'Rona.

What to do? Ernie has, literally, seen over 100 gigs vanish in the last two months due to the pandemic. Most heartbreaking, high school graduation parties and ceremonies as well as weddings.

One clear, peaceful, evening in the valley, Ernie set up his 20-foot inflatable movie screen, set-up a small table and candle and he and his bride simply watched an uplifting movie in their own driveway. Of course, it attracted attention. He realized that he was on to something.

He now is currently renting his $5,000+ sound system and screen to provide you with a lovely evening - a movie under the stars in the friendly confines of your own home. He even has a vintage popcorn maker to help satisfy as well as a "touchless" photo booth to help you commemorate the evening and preserve images of those that you love the most.

And it can be creative as you want to get. One person has already booked him around Labor Day weekend -- the weekend that Dave Matthews fans typically pilgrimage to the Gorge -- for a private "concert".

Ernie highly recommends this as a "family" or "date" night". Touche`, Big Ern.

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