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Enjoy a Night Out: Go to the Drive-In!

Enjoy a Night Out: Go to the Drive-In!

by Chris Petry

It’s official: springtime is finally here. Of course, we live in Western, PA and Eastern, OH so a rogue snowstorm could blow through any second now, but let’s not talk about that. It’s time to clear the clutter that’s been piling up in your basement and attic all winter, tune up the lawnmower, fill the truck bed with mulch, and go to the Drive-In.
Depending on your generation, you’re probably asking 1 of 2 questions: A) What’s a Drive-In or B) There are still Drive-Ins? Or maybe not. After all, the uniquely American experience of wedging two cars in between flimsy aluminum speaker poles to watch Bloodsuckers from Outer Space with your friends who were hiding in the trunk, is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. We had a major world event go down early in 2020, you may remember, and for the first time in 50 years Drive-Ins were back in the conversation. Can you think of another form of mass entertainment better suited to social distancing? It’s inherent to its very design! You sit in your car and your neighbor sits in theirs. No shared air.
Whenever I talk about going to the movies, I hear the same two complaints. People will say it’s too expensive and they don’t like being smushed up against texting teenagers, sneezers, crying babies, and indiscreet lovers. The Drive-In solves both problems. Go to the matinee at your local indoor theatre and you can expect to pay $12-15 for a single feature. Go to the Drive-In and you pay $8-12 and get to watch two movies. On average, concessions are 1/3 cheaper at the Drive-In and while you should support their continued operation by patronizing their snack shack, few Drive-Ins police what you bring in with you. Now, about that privacy. You’re literally separated from other moviegoers by a wall of metal and glass! How’s that for a sound barrier?
Here’s what I recommend for a fun evening out under the stars with your friends and loved ones. Get there before sundown. Not too early, but early enough you can claim a desirable spot based on the size of your vehicle and the line of view to the screen. Make sure you have a clean windshield. Seasoned Drive-In folk will likely keep a pack of glass wipes somewhere in the car. Take a blanket and some pillows. It can get chilly at night in the early spring and late fall. Make sure your car battery is not on its last legs because most drive-ins deliver sound through your car’s stereo. Should you need a jump, Drive-Ins routinely offer assistance. Now you’re all set for a full cinematic experience.
June 6th will mark the 90th anniversary of the first Drive-In movie theatre, in Pennsauken, NJ. So, whether you visit in the name of nostalgia, as a regular, or a newcomer intrigued by the uniqueness of this once common form of entertainment, a trip to the local Drive-In should be on your summer to-do list. To quote beloved Drive-In movie critic Joe Bob Briggs, “The Drive-In will never die.”

See below for a list of Drive-Ins near you!
Eastern, OH
Elm Road Triple-Drive-In Theatre- Warren
Skyway Twin Drive-In Theatre- Warren
Midway Drive-In- Ravenna
Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In- North Ridgeville
Magic City Drive-In- Barberton
Blue Sky Drive-In- Wadsworth
Lynn Auto Drive-In Theatre- Strasburg

Western, PA
The Dependable Drive-In- Moon
The Riverside Drive-In- Vandergrift
Starlight Drive-In- Butler
Palace Gardens Drive-In- Indiana
Super 322 Drive-In Theatre- Woodland/Clearfield
Brownsville Drive-In- Grindstone
Comet Drive-In- Connellsville
Evergreen Drive-In- Mt. Pleasant
Silver Drive-In- Johnstown