Luzerne County Drive-in Theater To Reopen In June After 32 Years
After being closed for 32 years, Exeter resident Eric Symeon plans to reopen the Moonlite Drive-In in West Wyoming in June.
Symeon recently flew to the closed Cascade Drive-In in Chicago and purchased a digital projector.
He learned about the projector for sale after reading an article that the Chicago drive-in would close after 58 years in business.
He said he looks forward to re-opening the theater in West Wyoming to offer families in the area something to do and a fun night out for a reasonable price. The cost to see two outdoor movies at the Moonlight Drive-In is $8 for adults and $5 for children.
Work is ongoing to reopen the concessions stand and Symeon said some electrical work still needs to be completed as well.
Symeon purchased the Moonlite Drive-In in 2017 and the Luzerne County Zoning Board granted him a variance to operate the theater.
Last summer, he said a missing panel was replaced on the movie screen and the screen was repainted.
He posted a photo of the digital projector on Facebook and the post received more than 700 “likes.” Several people posted that they can’t wait for the drive-in to re-open.
Other drive-in theaters in the area include the Garden Drive-In in Hunlock Creek and the Circle Drive-In in Dickson City. While many drive-in theaters have gone out of businesses, these two have lasted for decades.
The Circle Drive-In, built in 1945, is one of the longest running drive-in theaters in America. It is open for the season and will play movies “Dumbo” and “Captain Marvel” on one screen and “Wonder Park” and “Pet Sematary” on another screen this weekend. Movies are shown Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
The Garden Drive-In announced on its Facebook page it will begin showing movies this Friday and will hold its first flea market for the season on Sunday. The movies showing this weekend were not yet announced.
The Gardens Amusement Co. built the Garden Drive-In, which opened in July 1952, and it remains in business more than 66 years later. Kim Barbacci’s family bought the drive-in in the 1980s from the Cragle family.
The Laurel Drive-In in Hazleton temporarily closed last season because while other drive-ins have gone digital, it has continued to use 35mm film. It’s not clear if the drive-in will reopen this season. Efforts to reach anyone at the drive-in were not successful on Monday.
Luzerne County formerly was the site of a host of drive-in theaters that have all closed, including the West Side Drive-In in Edwardsville, the Comerford Drive-In in Dupont, the Wilkes-Barre Drive-In in Wilkes-Barre Twp., the Riverview in Pittston and the Dallas Drive-In in Dallas Twp.
Today, there are less than 350 drive-in movie theaters in the U.S. That marks a big decline from more than 4,000 drive-in movie theaters that once operated when they reached the peak of their popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.
Contact the writer: