Photo courtesy of Goochland Drive-In.
John Heidel, the Goochland Drive-In's "founder, owner and chief executive dreamer," searched for four years until he and his family found the right spot for the theater in Hadensville. A thick scrim of trees buffers the screen from highway sounds.
Since its first projection on Aug. 28, 2009, the Goochland Drive-In (4344 Old Fredericksburg Road, south of exit 152 off I-64. 457-3456 or goochlanddriveintheater.com ) has shown new releases, usually as double features and sometimes triple, completing the experience with retro commercials and cartoons. Upcoming films include The Amazing Spider-Man (opening July 3 ), The Dark Knight Rises ( July 22 ), and sometime around July 13, Ice Age 3.
There's a playground for kids and, on occasion, family-friendly bands like the Diggity Dudes. "We usually hold off on the live entertainment until after blockbuster season," Heidel says. He encourages moviegoers to "come early, eat, play and relax." This summer, too, there'll be more prizes and giveaways. Hold on to ticket stubs for the possibility of winning $20 and $50 gift certificates for local businesses.
A refreshing change of pace is the price of snacks: $3.50. Alcoholic beverages aren't allowed, but sometimes your pets are. Check the Facebook page or website first.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; the screen goes bright at 8:30 p.m. Admission for adults is $7, $3 for kids ages 4 to 11. If possible, take the car or smaller SUV for better parking options than those for larger vehicles.
"We get novelty seekers," Heidel says, "but people come back because they've enjoyed the experience."