Kalamazoo Needs To Bring Back It’s Drive In Theatre
Way back in the day, Kalamazoo used to have it's very own drive in movie theater. As someone who has never been to a drive in movie theater at any time of day, I have never seen a movie in the comfort of my own vehicle. One of the coolest past times in human history is going to a drive in movie with family, friends, or a significant other, listening through the radio, and watching the big screen from the seats in your car.
Kalamazoo is no stranger to movies, music, drama, or any other type of performing arts as we have multiple theaters here in town. We have the Civic, Kalamazoo 10, Celebration Cinema and the State Theatre to name a few. We've even seen others come and go as well, like the Alamo, Gull Road Cinema 5, and even the Portage drive in theater all had great years in Kalamazoo, but ultimately closed their doors.
Kalamazoo's has always been a city of the arts and we use many different avenues to showcase those arts. We have Art Hop in our downtown district all the time, there's the Gilmore Piano festival, countless film festivals, and the hot topic right now, theaters. In the recent years the desire to attend a drive in movie has skyrocketed as the younger generations see them in movies, while driving, or even hear stories from their parents and grandparents. It's awesome to know Kalamazoo was apart of the drive in theater crew.
Drive In Dynamics
Kalamazoo's drive in was located on the north side of town, off of Douglas Avenue. This drive in was open for 30 years before they had to close their gates due to low attendance overtime and didn't find anyone to purchase the land for a decade. 800 vehicles were able to fit into the parking lot and have a decent view of the big screen that played movies until July 24th, 1985, in which the last being "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Eventually the lot was sold to a beverage distributor in 2005 who built a warehouse. The neon sign for the drive in can be found at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Bring Back The Drive In
Kalamazoo isn't a place that necessarily needs another movie theater, but imagine what kind of traffic and revenue the city could bring in from nearby towns, villages, and cities that decide to visit for a drive in movie. Also, the residents of Kalamazoo would love to not have to drive to Coldwater, Hartford, Dowagiac, or Norton Shores to see a drive in movie. Not only would the city bring in outside revenue but also inner city revenue while providing what some consider to be an old school service.