SOUTHINGTON — A replica of the historic drive-in sign is nearly complete for the opening weekend of its ninth season.
Workers from Sign Pro in Plantsville started erecting the sign this week. Company representatives said they were waiting on the town to complete electrical work.
The Southington Drive-In opens on Saturday with a showing of “Jaws.”
The replica marquee replaces a billboard-style sign which was all that remained of the original. In April, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance for the size of the sign as well as the lights. During a meeting about the marquee, board Chairman Robert Salka said the town doesn’t allow internally illuminated signs but that the drive-in already has one. Approving the variance allowed the town to replace what was there in the 1950s, he said.
The sign is the latest improvement to the drive-in. Last year, the screen was painted in silver paint and this year the drive-in committee bought new projectors.
All the improvements come at no cost to taxpayers according to Dawn Miceli, a town councilor and drive-in committee member. Ticket sales, sponsorships and advertising fund the drive-in operations and purchases.
“We maintain the drive in property for the 14 weeks we use it,” she said. “Everything affiliated with the drive-in is all privately funded.”
Michael Riccio, a town councilor and drive-in committee member, said most of the construction of the sign will likely be completed this week but a meter has to be installed for the sign’s lights to operate. Lights should be working next week, possibly for next weekend’s showings.
Riccio said improvements to the drive-in make a big difference.
“We went down the other night and tested it. The picture blows away prior years,” he said.
The sign has been a goal of the committee for some time.
“I’ve been waiting 10 years for this sign,” Riccio said.
Miceli was also pleased with improvements. She said the drive-in offered a unique and fun experience with movies and pre-show activities.
“I think it’s going to be the best season yet,” Miceli said.