TRAVERSE CITY -- As the sounds of a roots band filled the Open Space, Lanae Sambrano-Bartz danced on the grass in bellbottoms and a midriff-baring sweater, a headband holding back her long hair threaded with braids.
Teens in tie-dye T-shirts wove through the gathering crowd with hand-lettered banners proclaiming "Flower Power," "Peace" and "Make Love, Not War."
It was the prequel to Thursday night's free film at the Open Space, the 1979 cult classic "Hair."
"This is one of the best experiences I've ever had," said Sambrano-Bartz, who moved to Traverse City from Charlevoix seven months ago with her now-husband, Mike Bartz. "It's outside, it's right on the bay, it's beautiful. It's just a freeing experience."
Although rain threatened the third in the series of outdoor films at the Traverse City Film Festival, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of friends Tina Schaub and Mackenzee Bull, who drew stares -- and flashbulbs -- with their extreme hairstyles.
"I had it done by (a stylist) at Salon Verve," said Bull, whose hair formed double film reels on the top of her head. "She said, 'I'm going to make your head a film projector,' and this is what she came up with."
The 'dos were part of a Crazy Hair Contest in which participants competed for prizes by wearing outlandish wigs or otherwise dressing up their own hair in a nod to the film, said Open Space "fun manager" and emcee Will Riley.
"One of the people in the organization calls me the village idiot," said Riley, whose pre-show entertainment plans also included people dressed in riot gear chasing around a group of "hippies." "I'll do anything for the film festival: light my hair on fire, roll around the beach in sand with all my clothes on.
"I think the entertainment definitely makes an impression, and it's an integral part of the festival."
Set in the "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out" decade of the 1960s, "Hair" tells the story of a naive Oklahoma farm boy who meets a "tribe" of free-spirited hippies while on his way to enlist in the Vietnam-era U.S. Army. Like the Broadway musical it was adapted from, it includes the songs "Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine" and "Let the Sun Shine In."
Shainna Powell planned to watch the movie with her parents, Jo and Jon Powell, near the couple's 24-foot cabin cruiser moored in West Grand Traverse Bay.
"We're really here to see 'The Goonies,'" said Jo Powell, referring to today's Open Space film. "The rest we don't care about."
Conspicuous in her black cocktail dress, pink pumps and boa, and "bachelorette" sash, Lauren Kelly wasn't at the Open Space to see any movies at all.
"It's a bachelorette party," said Kelly, who was playing a card game with four of her friends in honor of her wedding Saturday. "We have to find guys and high-five them."
The Open Space film series continues through Saturday. Films begin at dusk, with pre-show entertainment starting at 7 p.m.