Drive-in-Movies…the way to go with Covid?

A sense of wonder

Mike & Ike and friends…

Thank you, Charlie, Henry & Ned…

Donna Bailey, ACPCC

Ready for the movies, and ready for bed

Sean getting the movie and sound set up ( played through the car radio, on 100.7 that night…)

On August 20th, a warm, still night in Middlebury, The Addison County Parent/Child Center (ACPCC) hosted their first drive-in movie event. It was a collaborative team effort, largely driven by the ACPCC board. Thanks to the efforts of Woody Jackson, we secured some generous sponsorship.

Huge appreciation to Woodchuck Cider, The Marquis Theater, Vermont Cider Co, Silver Maple Construction, IJP Real Estate, Middlebury Eye Associates, Deppman Law, & the Vermont Bookshop for their support.

The evening was hosted in the car park of The Cider Mill on Exchange street, a venue that happily housed the 40 or so cars that joined us for a 8.30pm showing of Night at the Museum, a film that seemed to hit just the right balance of fun, storytelling and suspense for our intergenerational audience. For our first event, we wanted to play it as safely as possible, but in the future, we sense we could host up to 55 cars at the venue, and still retain safe social distance.

We were SO happy to see many of our local families come out and support us. Ben from the Marquis Theater very kindly donated candy and popcorn for the evening, and the community nature of the event was evident when packing the treats the afternoon of the event-Charlie, Henry and Ned, the children of Sean & Kelly, one of our board members, were of tremendous help. The fact that they had a rich insight into the vagueries of candy with descriptive names including ‘Sno Caps’, ‘Nerds’, ‘Charleston Chew,’ ‘Sour Patch Kids’ & ‘Mike & Ike,’ was of immense help to me, my own children having been brought up on another continent, with limited ‘sweety’ choice. Who would have thought Mike & Ike could find a market for so many different versions of something- a choice of original, sours, berry blast, megamix, tropical typhoon, megamix sour…?!

I’ve never been to a drive-in movie before-having grown up in the UK, there was no culture of outdoor movies, and by the time I moved to South Africa in the early 2000s, the drive-in culture was over. We did have a version of outdoor cinema that was very popular before Covid, where movies were shown in public gardens, beaches and rooftops, which could be a new trend for Vermont going forward? Colchester (our closest drive-in), feels too far away, and having lived in cities for the majority of my life, I’m only now getting used to driving on roads with little street markings and limited lighting, so prefer not to be out too late. So it was with anticipation that I attended one very close to home-and it didn’t disappoint! I loved the way families arrived in their cars and pick-ups, fully prepared with sleeping bags, pillows, and in some instances, mattresses, to settle in for the experience. A few arrived with lawn chairs and cooler boxes, and many of the children got into the spirit of the evening, wearing their P.J’s. It was my vision of the American family experience, one I had only seen in movies, and I was only sorry that my own children weren’t around to enjoy the evening.

We couldn’t have hosted the evening without the expertise of Sean Flynn and Kelly O’ Malley, who took on the project with enthusiasm and skill. A huge thank you to all involved, and now we have the formula, we hope to run a series of community drive-ins next year-Covid or no covid, it is a fun, easy, and effective way to gather socially, which is novel, fun, and communal. Hopefully, by next year, we can include and a few local food trucks and cider tasting to add a further festive element to an evening with a difference. Watch this (movie) space…

A few of our movie attendees, ready with their unicorn sleeping bags…

A bird’s eye view…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *