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The Journal Gazette

  • The Huntington Twin Drive-In in Huntington has been open for 68 years and began its season Friday. (File photos)

  • Moviegoers spend time before showtime playing kickball at the Auburn Garrett Drive-In Theater. Many area theaters offer activities to help pass the time before films are shown.

Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:00 am

Drive-in checkup

If you haven't been in a while, brush up on what you'll need

TERRI RICHARDSON | The Journal Gazette

If you go

• Huntington Twin Drive-In Theater

Where: 1291 Condit St., Huntington

Open: Friday-Saturday through May 20; Thursday-Sunday from May 24 through Sept. 2Showtimes: 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Tickets: $8.50 adults, $4 ages 3-11

Web: www.goodrichqualitytheaters.com/indiana/huntington-twin-drive-in

• Auburn Garrett Drive-in Theatre

Where: 1014 Indiana 8, Garrett

Open: Weekends only; daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day

Showtimes: 8:15 and 10:15 p.m.

Tickets: $8 adults, $4 ages 5 to 12, free 4 and younger; cash only

Web: auburngarrettdrivein.com

• 13-24 Drive In

Where: 890 N. Indiana 13, Wabash

Open: April 27 and 28

Showtimes: At dark

Tickets: $5

Web: 1324drivein.com

I remember going to my first drive-in theater when I was in grade school.

We went with my cousins, all of us piling in the back of my aunt's station wagon. My aunt laid down the seats and we placed our blankets and snacks in the back. I got to wear my pajamas, and it was like a slumber party.

Of course, that was many years ago when moviegoers had to place the speakers on their car windows in order to hear the movie.

A few years ago, my husband and I decided to take our teen son and his friend to the drive-in for the first time. Unfortunately, I didn't consider that those speakers were long gone now and I should bring a portable radio. I spent the entire night worried that our car battery would die and we would be stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool.

Mariah Meadows, assistant manager for Goodrich Quality Theaters, which owns the Huntington Twin Drive-In in Huntington, says the theater has a limited number of small radios that can be lent to people who don't bring one, but she recommends that people bring their own.

Now that several area drive-in theaters have opened for the season, including Huntington Twin, which opened Friday, it's a good opportunity for people to wax nostalgic or experience the drive-in for the first time. 

Drive-ins in America have slowly disappeared over the years. There are 324 theater locations in the U.S. as of June 2016, according to the United Drive-in Theatre Owners Association. There are 20 left in Indiana and 28 in Ohio.

But if you do go, being prepared before you park will make your viewing more enjoyable.

Opening in the spring is an iffy time for area drive-ins because of the weather. Auburn Garrett Drive-In in Garrett opened last weekend, and 13-24 Drive In in Wabash will open April 27.

That's why Meadows recommends blankets “to make it more comfortable.” Some people, she says, even bring portable heaters.

“It does get pretty chilly at night,” she says. “I do recommend blankets and coats.”

In addition, moviegoers may want to bring lawn chairs or a place they can sit and enjoy the film, Meadows says.

And while it may be cold now, things will soon warm up and that means insects. So Meadows says don't forget the bug spray, especially at the height of summer.

Outside snacks and drinks are not allowed at Huntington Twin, but the theater does offer a concession stand, as well as other activities to keep people entertained while waiting for the film to start.

At Huntington Twin, Meadows says there is a playground in front of Screen One and there also is a large area of grass where people sometimes play football and baseball.

The theater hopes to add a volleyball net and cornhole games soon, she says.

The Huntington drive-in has been in business for 68 years. The 13-24 Drive In in Wabash has been open for more than 60 years, and the Auburn Garrett Drive-In first opened in 1951.

Meadows says she remembers going to the Huntington drive-in as a kid. The drive-in has switched management in recent years and Meadows is glad it is “finally getting the love and attention it needs” with several upgrades.

“It's been nice bringing this place back,” she says.

trich@jg.net