Sunset Drive-In opens for 73rd season

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After staying open late into the winter due to high demand, the Sunset Drive-In in Colchester is open once again for its 73rd season.

“Well it’s great to be back after our shortest offseason ever,” says owner Peter Handy.

Handy is a second-generation drive-in owner. It’s been in his family since 1948. The facility offers contactless tickets and even call-ahead concessions to give people as safe an experience as possible. “Quite honestly, last year at this time we didn’t know if we’d ever open up, and this year was our shortest offseason ever -- only two months -- and we couldn’t be happier being open,” says Handy.

This year, movie companies are finally coming out with their big releases, which were postponed due to the pandemic. The debut showing of Godzilla vs. Kong brought out a crowd for Sunset’s opening night. “Gotta get the full experience. Gotta see Godzilla that big on screen,” said River DeFelice, a UVM student.

“It feels good because we finally get to come back and watch a movie,” said Jaxin, 9.

“COVID can be kind of lonely. It’s been hard to hang out with friends and stuff during a pandemic, so I feel like this is a good way to feel like you’re still in a community,” says Kortnie Wheaton of Burlington.

Handy says it’s the oldest drive-in in New England and he says it’s been great to have people coming out enjoying the nostalgia of the evenings under the stars. He also hopes to continue the tradition. “In the words of a famous man, John Wayne, ‘we’ve been around a long time and plan on being here a whole lot longer,’” Handy said.

Vermont movie theaters are also allowed to be open at 50 percent capacity. Essex Cinemas recently began opening Friday nights in addition to the weekend.

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