Southington Drive-In organizers hope for summer season

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SOUTHINGTON — For those longing for a return to pre-pandemic recreation activities, the Southington Drive-In is planning to open this summer.

An official opening date for the town-owned drive-in on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike will be set at the next meeting of the drive-in committee, which Recreation Director Dave Lapreay expects will be held in the next few weeks.

Members will take into account Gov. Ned Lamont’s announcement last week that most of the state restrictions on businesses and gatherings will be lifted on May 19.

The committee will also consult with the Plainville-Southington Community Health District.

“I would imagine that we will be open this summer, we just have yet to determine that,” Lapreay said.

Lapreay is also hopeful the relaxed restrictions on outdoor gatherings will allow the town to resume its Music on the Green concert series, which was canceled last summer.

Mike Fasulo, Drive-in Committee chair, said he’s hoping for a June 5 opening and a fairly normal summer season. He expects the local health district may recommend capacity restrictions and not opening the concession stand. Organizers are already planning to spread cars out so customers can maintain social distancing.

Though the drive-in was unable to show movies last summer, it was able to work with Encore Live to host a handful of concerts. Drive-in Committee Vice Chair Dawn Miceli said the concerts provided lessons that will be used this year, including spacing out vehicles.

Miceli said organizers are currently working on a schedule of movies, which normally show at the drive-in every Saturday until around Labor Day. Since new releases are expensive, the drive-in typically shows older, classic films.

Ticket sales from the drive-in are split among around a dozen civic organizations and non-profits the committee partners with for each show. The organizations provide volunteers who sell tickets, manage traffic, and help with other tasks.  

Fasulo said his favorite part is talking to moviegoers, some who drive from other parts of the state for the drive-in experience. 

“People have a lot of good memories about coming there as a kid and they want their kids to experience it too,” he said.

dleithyessian@record-journal.com203-317-2317Twitter: @leith_yessian

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