Drive-in remains popular destination

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Maddie Rennels, left, Ryan Wharton, Tyler Steward, 7, Margeaux Rennels, Mya Steward, 6, and Layla Eldridge, 5, all of Evansville, watch "Back to the Future" at Holiday Drive-In in Reo on Friday.

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

REO — As businesses and attractions adapt to life in the world of COVID-19, one Southern Indiana summer staple remains a popular — and safe — destination. The Holiday Drive-In located in Reo.

New guests are pulling into the 26-acre outdoor movie theater to check it out, and leadership has implemented new strategies to keep its content appealing.

“We did get a bump because the social distancing is kind of already made into our business model, so to speak,” said Tim Moseley, co-owner of the long-standing drive-in. “You’re in your own car. You’re spaced out. So, it’s kind of a natural thing for us. And they (customers) recognized it.”

The drive-in opened for the season in early May, about five weeks after the location normally launches for the year. Moseley said he believes the outdoor theater experienced that “initial bump” when it opened, due to the fact that indoor theaters remained closed.

Things are slowing down to normal summer speed now, but even so, moviegoers are still pulling into the Spencer County venue.

“But all in all, I’m pretty happy with the way the season’s gone,” Moseley said. “At least the first two months.”

Max Hanson, 8, of Newburgh, waits outside the restrooms and concessions behind a screen at Holiday Drive-In in Reo on Friday.

He explained that one of the biggest challenges all drive-in theaters are facing this summer is a lack of new movies. At Holiday, older material is being tapped — “Back to the Future,” “Jurassic Park” and “Grease” have played on some of the theater’s six screens this week. For the first time ever, the venue is also showing concert specials that feature performances from musicians like Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton.

Moseley doesn’t know yet if his numbers will be down when the season officially ends in the fall. But he does know that those offerings are appreciated.

The co-owner explained that his theater is pulling in many guests who have never been to a drive-in before or haven’t cruised up to one in years, and he’s hoping they enjoy themselves and return in the future.

“I’ve noticed, just talking to the patrons, that they’re very appreciative that we’re open,” Moseley said. “Many of them tell me that they’re thankful.”

The Holiday Drive-In is open every night. Movie listings can be found online at holidaydrivein.com.

“It’s a mix of new and old,” Moseley said of Holiday. “I would say it’s got the nostalgic drive-in; this place has been here since 1955. Yet, it has a newer twist to it in that it [has] new machines and the picture quality ... it looks like a large-screen TV. The quality is so much better.”

Marlena Sloss
Lindsey Fleck, left, Ellie Marx, her son, Colton, 2, and Makenzie Warren, all of Evansville, eat pizza before their movie starts at Holiday Drive-In in Reo on Friday.
Ava Kisner and Aaron Cox, both of Evansville, watch "Back to the Future" at Holiday Drive-In in Reo on Friday.
The Holiday Drive-In sign is illuminated in Reo on Friday.



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