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Itching To Go To A Movie? Why Not Drive In?

Elm Road Drive-In Theatre in Warren, Ohio, reopened over the weekend.
Elm Road Drive-In Theatre
Elm Road Drive-In Theatre in Warren, Ohio, reopened over the weekend.

Much of the country remains shut down because of the coronavirus, but one nostalgic form of entertainment gets back into full swing in Ohio this weekend.

The few remaining drive-in theaters around the state are flipping on their projectors and opening back up for the season. That includes the Field of Dreams Drive-In in Liberty Center and Tiffin Drive-In, which opened for the summer starting Friday night.

Saunders Theater Properties runs both drive-in theatres. Kallen Bauer, vice president of operations, says they expect larger audiences this summer.

“We are expecting to have a rather busy summer,” she says. “With that, we still want to make sure people are being safe.”

To that end, they’ve moved their concession and ticket sales online, and required customers to wear masks if they leave their cars.

Another change? The marquee. With film studios holding back releases for when indoor theaters are back in operation, Saunders has had to change their strategy of what to show.

“Right now, we are showing some of the movies that came out right before everything shut down,” Bauer says.

That includes the Pixar film Onward, Trolls World Tour and the thriller The Invisible Man.

“Throughout the summer, we’re probably going to do some creative things, like some throwback movies or some classic movies and just kind of mix it up to give everyone a chance to watch movies that they enjoy,” Bauer says.

And in between those showings, they’re booking a variety of other events including graduations, weddings  and dance recitals.

“We’ve even reached out to people about potentially doing funerals, as a way for people to listen to a sermon and listen to a ceremony but be in the safety of their own cars,” she says.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.