Tag Archive: concession stand


Product Thursday

A Drive-in Marquee. Picture by Earl 35.

Every summer our family makes great plans to go to the drive-in theater several times. We go at least once a month and love it every time.

We don’t care about mosquitoes or chilly nights. We have learned what to pack and what to buy for the outing.

Picture by Karpati

Our car will be filled with blankets, snack foods, drinks and play items. Hello, frisbees and soccer balls.  We might bring baseballs and gloves as well. Bug spray comes along but I also like the new ‘bug repellant’ bracelets.

My favorite drive-in theatres have a number of great features.

First, a big green area in front of the screen. There does not have to be a swing set here for kids to blow steam before the movie but it should be big enough for at least ten families to throw a frisbee, football or water balloons.

Secondly, the sound system must be in working order. You can have the old-fashioned speakers or present day through-your-radio system. But if neither is working you miss out on the sound and that sucks.

Third, the gravel in the driving lanes must be gravel, not small rocks about the size of an egg.  Kids are going to throw them and run on it. Do not provide weapons or create potential accidents for children wearing flip-flops in the summer time.

Picture by Alvimann

Fourth, the concession stand may be the actual money-maker for the business but make it affordable. I might bring in snacks and drinks. But my kids want ice cream, popcorn, nachos and chilly willies. So I will pony up some cash if you will make it so I can still pay the mortgage.

Now, I know what is happening out there. You are wondering if there are any drive-ins left and if one is near you. If you are lucky, there is one less than 20 miles away. If you are like me, you are an hour or so away from a few good choices. 

One way to find drive in theaters by states is at drive-ins.com. Another site to try is driveinmovie.com. You might have to sift through many theater listings of gone but not forgotten theaters.

When you find one that is near you, look up starting times. Call ahead to find out current admission pricing and start time. Plan your trip and make a list of items to take along (including bug spray or repellant of some sort). Remember blankets or sleeping bags, fun games to play in the grass and fold up chairs.

Just remember that popular movies means lots of people. Get to your drive in early if possible or go on a less popular night so you are not left outside the theater.

Getting to a drive-in is one of the highlights of our summer. Do you have a favorite drive-in theater?

Every Thursday I review a product or service. If you have something of interest, please contact me at bowmankaryn@sbcglobal.net.

One of those nostalgic activities we like to participate in is going to a drive-in movie theater.  

A Drive-in Marquee. Picture by Earl 35.

 

Yes, they used to be plentiful and nearly every small town had one. It has a Norman Rockwell feel to it. In the 50s and 60s that is where you went on a date. But something happened to the industry in the late 70s and 80s. The land became more valuable for development and people were not going to as many drive-ins.  

A few have remained that have become classic venues. How do they do it?  

My personal experience is that the great drive-ins treat their customers right by having green areas for play before the movie, concession stands that do not over price you to death and security that makes their presence known without bullying. It is not rocket science. Treat the paying customers right and they will come back!  

We went to the Harvest Moon Twin Cinema located in Gibson City, Illinois. We like going there and have recommended it for years to friends. We even saw one of my daughter’s girlfriends there with her family. So Sara watched the movie from their car and visited with her friend at the same time.  

This was a special double-feature weekend. Screen One was showing The Prince of Persia and Robin Hood. Screen Two was showing Shrek 4 and Iron Man 2. We went for Shrek and Iron Man. Who can resist a Scottish Ogre and Robert Downey Jr.?  

Take a ball or a frisbee for the green area. Picture by Solicity

 

The movies were good but the experience was better. We had a family Frisbee game in the green area and had to avoid the football throwers. There was a sandwich run to the concession stand and fresh melon in the cooler. We sat in our chairs and watched the movie in all the comfort we could want. Our youngest rolled himself up in a blanket on the ground during the first movie. Later, he sat on my lap.  

On the way out we threw our garbage bag (given to us at the entrance) on the semi trailer that had a target sign. My 13-year-old missed with the two bags we had but they landed on the trailer. And yes, there were mosquitoes but we sprayed ourselves with poison to keep them at bay.  

I appreciate that this owner makes us clean up after ourselves. I love his merry-go-round that comes from the 1940s. The bathrooms need to be modernized but that is for the future.  

What I hope is that the company keeps going so that when I have grandchildren, I can take them to experience watching movies with no air conditioning, plenty of bugs and the chance we will have to run into the car because of rain. Not that it will stop the movie from playing because it won’t.  

Looking for a drive-in near you? Try this website http://www.drive-ins.com.  

Share your favorite drive-in movie memories in the comment section.  

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.