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Drive-In Theaters Make A Comeback

The Dixie Twin Drive-In has become a popular spot for Dayton movie-goers during the pandemic. The drive-in has started hosting a lot of community events, too.
The Dixie Twin Drive-In has become a popular spot for Dayton movie-goers during the pandemic. The drive-in has started hosting a lot of community events, too.

Many movie theaters are still closed, but drive-in movie theaters are open and business is booming. WYSO’s Jason Reynolds reports.

Al Bell at the Dixie Twin Drive-In says that sometimes business could be “sleepy” before the pandemic, but now they’re super busy.

“We are going to have a very successful season,” Bell says. “At the same time, we’re going to serve the community and assist some charities in these unprecedented times.”

He says sales are up 50 percent, and the Dixie Twin is playing more than movies.

The Dixie Twin Drive-In transforms into a flea market every Sunday morning, then back into a theater in the evening. It's been a Dayton staple for 68 years, even as drive-ins across the country have closed.
Credit Courtesy of the Dixie Twin Drive-In
The Dixie Twin Drive-In transforms into a flea market every Sunday morning, then back into a theater in the evening. It's been a Dayton staple for 68 years, even as drive-ins across the country have closed.

On Monday, they’ll host Northgate High School’s virtual graduation. They’re setting up a big screen Rubber Duck Regatta for charity. There’s even a live stream concert series.

The movies at the drive-in are different, too. The audio comes through your car radio. They use digital projectors. And now, Dixie Twin is getting first-run movies.

Despite all the changes and upgrades, Bell says the drive-in is still a place where movie-goers can be themselves.

“I enjoy seeing different families and groups of friends enjoying the experience,” he says. “Whether they’ve brought lawn chairs, whether they’re sitting in the back of a pick-up truck, or just sitting in their sedan. Some people bring a pizza, a bucket of chicken, or a picnic basket.”

He says the concession stands and restrooms are following strict health and social distancing guidelines.

The drive-in is more inclusive, too. On Sundays, movies are being shown with captions for the hearing impaired.

Copyright 2020 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.