On a typical summer weekend, the Southington Drive-In is the one showing films as hundreds flock to the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike theater to see a variety of movies.
The tables have turned for the town-owned theater, which will move from showing movies on the big screen to being featured on the small screen when the Bridgeport-base company Enormity Pictures, LLC, conducts a special documentary with the municipal facility and event organizers.
The feature is part of a new television show "American Drive-In," which will feature drive-in theaters from across the nation. The Southington Drive-In, which is planning a special Halloween "Spook-tacular" showcase on Oct. 27, will be the first stop in a series of shows across the nation.
The series will also be traveling to Texas and Virginia following their stop in Southington, Enormity Pictures LLC facility manager Russ Martin told the Hartford Couran late last week.
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In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Martin said Southington was a natural starting point for the show because it is the only municipal drive-in theater in the country:
"It's the only drive-in I know of that a town has bought to preserve," said Russ Martin, a member of Enormity Pictures LLC. "The town buying this is a real nice story."
The drive-in, one of only three in the state of Connecticut, was first purchased by the town in 2004 and has expanded since, due in large part to volunteers in the community who have stepped up to help out. It had closed in 2002.
The drive-in now hosts events all summer long, with different non-profit organizations running the shows and receiving a portion of the proceeds for their efforts.
Dawn Miceli, a member of the Southington Drive-In Committee, told the Record-Journal that the ultimate goal of the theater is to provide a family atmosphere while serving as something that will benefit the entire community.
According to the Record-Journal article, Miceli said she is proud of what the theater is able to accomplish:
"The came and interviewed us last week and everyone is always intrigued that we are a not-for-profit and the local civic groups use (the drive-in) as a fundraiser," Miceli said. "The best thing about the drive-in is that it keep pumping for our community in terms of bringing recognition to Southington and making us a destination location."