Niagara Gazette

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April 18, 2008

LIFESTYLE: Jivin' at the drive-in

As the drive-in theater readies for its 75th anniversary this summer, a group of local enthusiasts is banding together to make sure the seasonal icon is around for decades more.

The Western New York Drive-In Movie Society came together in October as a way to share stories and preserve what local theaters remain. The group came too late to save the Buffalo Drive-In, which closed after last season, but its members look to promote the nine theaters left in Western New York — including two in Niagara County.

“It’s a place where people know they can go if they want to have a good time,” said George Root of Lockport, one of the society’s founding members.

The idea to form a society came after hearing about a similar group that had started up a few years prior in southern California. That group helped significantly boost drive-in attendance its first year, a feat Root hopes to duplicate here.

To help in that, the society will host a series of tailgate parties throughout the summer, during which many of the roughly 40 society members will gather with fellow drive-in enthusiasts for the evening, Root said. The first party is slated for May 23 at the Transit Drive-In in Lockport.

“We hope to get people to come out who don’t normally come,” said Root, who singled out people who don’t have a companion for the evening. “For people who have no one to go with, our group will give them that.”

The hope is that first-timers will get hooked and become repeat customers, Root said.

“There is an aura at the drive-in. There is an experience at the drive-in that you can’t get anywhere else,” he said. “Once you go once, you’re going to want to go again.”

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