Who could forget the good times had on a hot summer night at the local drive-in theater? The family station wagon stuffed with kids and a mid-August evening was the perfect combination for a night of movie magic under the stars.
Drive-in memories of my youth were made right here in Tewksbury at the old Wamesit Drive-In Theater located on the corner of Route 38 and 495.
As memory serves, there were three screens showing a variety of movies from family Disney favorites, to block-buster movies of the time, to low budget “B” horror flicks. I remember falling asleep in the back of the family station wagon in my P.J.’s to a showing of Pinocchio, and in my teenage years meeting all my friends to see the first few movies in the Rocky franchise, Jaws and E.T.!
The snack bar offered treats like hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream, but on family outings to the drive-in, frugal moms would always bring popcorn from home to save money.
Going to the drive-in could also be a fairly inexpensive night out for both families and teenagers, as admission charge on certain nights would be $5 a car load, and even on the weekend nights when they charged by the person, the savvy teenager would hide a few friends in the trunk or under a blanket in the back seat to save a few bucks.
As all things do, drive-ins fell out of fashion as the new, bigger multiplex theaters hit the movie-going scene, and Wamesit Drive-In was torn down to make way for Home Depot and Applebees in the early 1990’s.
Decades after the drive-in demise, you can once again enjoy a drive-in movie right here in Tewksbury!
On Aug. 11, 2020, the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen approved drive-in movie nights to begin at Wamesit Lanes and Merrimack Valley Pavilion from the end of August through Nov. 15.
Wamesit Lanes, located at 434 Main St., plans on having drive-up movie night on Sundays starting on Aug. 30 with the showing of the movie The Sandlot. This movie night will also benefit the TMHS PAC as a fundraiser, and pizza and drinks will be available for purchase.
For ticket information visit www.wamesitlanes.com.
Merrimack Valley Pavilion plans to show drive up movies Thursday through Saturday, and has already started viewings of movie night, which began on Aug. 20. Admission is $25 per car, and can be purchased online or on arrival.
MVP is also offering a full menu of food and snacks to enjoy while watching the movie from the safety of your car. For more information on movie schedules and ticket purchase, visit them at www.playmvp.com.
This new drive-up movie experience is a welcome experience for movie lovers that have not had access to movie theaters in months, but hard core drive-in fans may still be craving the authentic drive-in experience of yesteryear.
Although not many of the original drive-in theaters across the country survived the multiplex theater era, there are still a few left within driving distance of this area that are open and allowing safe movie watching while still adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Mendon Twin Drive-In, located at 45 Milford St. in Mendon, originally opened in 1954 with a single screen. In the 1990’s, a second screen was added, and with many updates, the 2020 drive-in movie experience is completely digital. The movie theater season runs from April through September, and admission is $27 per car.
Mendon Twin is also one of the only drive-ins that serves beer and wine to guests with proper ID, and pets are welcome as well. For more information, call 508-473-4958.
The Leicester Triple Drive-In, located at 1675 Main St. in Leicester, has been in operation since 1967. The Triple Drive-In is open seasonally from April through August, and admission is $29 a car, but is cash only at the door.
For more information visit them at www.leicesterdrivein.net.
The Milford Twin Drive-In, located at 531 Elm St. in Milford, NH, was built in 1958, and is the last remaining drive-in of the Southern New Hampshire area. This drive-in is also one of the few left to feature a children’s playground area. Leashed pets are welcome, and admission is a bargain price at $27 a carload, as the Milford Twin always offers a double feature on each screen.
For movie schedules visit www.milforddrivein.com.
You still have a few weeks left to enjoy authentic back-seat viewing at one of the area original drive-ins, and the drive-in experience right here in Tewksbury will be available to enjoy until late fall.
After months of being cooped up at home, enjoy a movie night out with the family. You will have peace of mind as you safely social distance from the comfort of your own vehicle and enjoy a few memories of “the good ole days.”