Local drive-in enters national contest to win vital equipment

GLENMONT, N.Y. – As Hollywood switches to digital, many drive-in theaters are facing the high cost of purchasing digital projectors – a cost many just can't afford.

Many Capital Region residents can remember a time when drive-in theaters reigned supreme. First dates, family outings, drive-ins were a place where memories were made, but the little slice of Americana is slowly fading.

“I put 18 years into this, blood, sweat, and tears. Yeah, it would be heart breaking,” said Michael Chennette, owner of Jericho Drive-In Theater in Glenmont. 

The drive-in first opened in 1957, and it still bears the polls that once held speakers for the old cars. Old movie projectors help lend to its nostalgic charm, but they're quickly become a thing of the past. Hollywood is going digital, and by the end of the year, all theaters must upgrade — and it isn't cheap. 

“It is a big chunk of money and we have done some improvements to the property in the last couple years and right now we have extended ourselves, its $70,000 to $75,000 for a projector and for a small biz that's tough to recover from,” said Chennette.

In fact, many of the 350 or so drive in left in the United States won't survive the switch. So the Chennette family, along with others all over the country, have entered a contest created by Honda offering a free projector to whoever gets the most votes.

It Chennette family says it would be a huge relief to win, a dream come true.

Four local drive-ins are in the running, Jericho in Glenmont, Greenville drive-in, Hathaway's in North Hoosick, and El Rancho in Palatine Bridge.

You can click HERE to donate money and vote on where the projector should go.

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