The Twilite Drive-In in Wolseley is back for its 67th season.
The theatre is scheduled to open April 22 with a free show of Sonic the Hedgehog. Following the free show, from April 23-25 the theatre is scheduled to show Godzilla vs. Kong.
“The lineup looks pretty good, we got King Kong for the first weekend,” said owner and operator Don Zaba.
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“It’s fun,” said Kathryn Griffin, a frequent drive-in attendee. “You get to go with a group of friends, there’s always good food there, they show new movies.”
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the drive-in can still open safely while following government restrictions that have been imposed. The restrictions will likely be the same as last year.
“The only difference in stipulation is that we have to wear masks,” said Zaba. “Other than that, the COVID-19 regulations are up to date, they’re still the same.”
The staff at the drive-in will be wearing masks. Zaba also said that anyone who exits their car at the venue will need to wear a mask.
In 2020, the restrictions included having vehicles park a minimum of two metres apart and creating socially distanced lineups at the concession. In addition, the number of customers allowed into the concession was limited and traffic was one-way.
Last season, the drive-in offered a series of live-streamed and pre-recorded concerts projected on the big screen. The concerts consisted of country artists Blake Shelton, Kane Brown, and Garth Brooks as well as heavy metal band Metallica. The concerts were a first for the drive-in after 66 years of operation and offered a safe avenue for concertgoers during the pandemic.
“The response has been really good,” said Zaba about the concerts in a September 2020 interview. “It’s better than I thought it would be.”
Due to the pandemic, the cost of a carload was $20. In a typical year, pricing is $10 per adult and $5 per child under 12 years.
“I like the drive-in because it’s a family atmosphere,” said Taryn Ripplinger, another frequent moviegoer. “Being an hour from the city, it’s really nice to have a place to go watch these newer movies that come out in the summer.”
Once there, movie attendees can sit outside or in the comfort of their vehicles and listen to the show via radio station. Or, for the true drive-in experience, moviegoers can pull one of the authentic drive-in speakers into their cars.
“I love that it’s so close to home,” said Griffin. “Living in rural Saskatchewan it’s one of the only things to do on a weekend without having to drive too far.”
Both Griffin and Ripplinger enthusiastically expressed their excitement for the theatre to open for the season.
“I can’t wait,” said Griffin.
Since 2013, the drive-in has been offering season-pass hoodies. For $100, purchasers can get either a zip-up or pullover hoodie that, when worn, acts as a pass for the whole season – typically from April to October. The colours have ranged from green to gray to blue.
The drive-in was originally opened in 1954 by Zaba’s parents, Stan and Marie. Zaba purchased the drive-in from his father in 1982 and has been running it ever since.
The drive-in is located 101 kilometres, or approximately a one-hour drive, from Regina.