Local drive-ins hope for successful season to remain in business

AVERILL PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Recent, expensive upgrades have drive-in movie theatres throughout the Capital Region hoping for big crowds this summer.

Watching films under the stars is a throwback experience and has been a lifelong passion for Hollywood Drive-In owner Frank Fisher.

“I used to sleep under the counter in the concession building,” he said.

And while the experience of drive-ins hasn’t changed, some things have. Lisa Chenette owns Jericho Drive-In in Glenmont with her husband.

“Our customers are everywhere from two years old to 100 years old,” she said. “They bring their cats, their dogs, whatever other animals that they have that they like to travel with.”

Some modern day updates to drive-in theatres include audio coming through car stereos rather than over speakers. More recent upgrades include transitioning to digital projectors that make the screen five times brighter.

However, digital projects are a very costly venture for drive-in movie theatres.

“When it finally did hit, a lot of people got really shocked because it is expensive,” Fisher said.

Many drive-ins across the country have struggled to make the switch.

“They can’t afford to make this move,” Fisher explained.

Jericho Drive-In will show off its new digital project this summer to celebrate 20 years in business.

“Thank you so much for everything that they’ve done and how much they’ve donated,” Chenette said.

While things have gotten a little more technical, the feelings remain the same.

“It’s not changed,” Fisher said. “We don’t want to change anything here. We want to keep it pristine; almost like it was.”

There are eight drive-in theatres in the Capital Region:

Hi-Way Drive-In (COXSACKIE): OPENED April 3

Malta Drive-In (MALTA): April 17

Ozoner 29 and El Rancho Drive-In (BROADALBIN): Early May, anticipating May 1

Jericho Drive-In (GLENMONT): April 24 (ice cream shop on site already open)

Hathaway’s Drive-In (NORTH HOOSICK): April 24

Hollywood Drive-In (AVERILL PARK): April 17

Glen Drive-In (QUEENSBURY): May 1

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