TURLOCK – Movie goers and dinosaur lovers packed in a sold out showing of Jurassic Park at the new Grand Oak Drive In Theater Friday.
The theater came as a spontaneous idea, after the owners of the Grand Oak event center had to cancel all of their booked weddings and events for the entire year due to COVID-19. The owners decided to do something different to keep their staff employed during the pandemic.
“Let’s just do a drive-in theater,” said Sarah Yonan, who explained the idea was her father’s. “There isn’t one in this area.”
The drive in was a fun and safe idea for families to get out of the house and enjoy an event without a fear or risk of COVID-19, Yonan said.
“The community benefits because there aren’t many places open right now, so this is something families get to look forward to on the weekend.”
Yonan said the entire staff was on board with the idea.
There is a bar and concession stand at the drive-in offering tri-tip sandwiches, colossal dogs and popcorn, as well as a beer garden. The venue also has live concerts lined up, with Selena and Eagles tribute bands booked for the near future.
Friday, families were able to enjoy a showing of Jurassic Park, which has set box office records four times since its premiere in 1993. Yonan said it was their first sell out showing, saying the movie is a timeless classic.
The staff hopes to offer movies to the community as long as there is continued support. Visit godriveup.com for tickets and showtimes.
Ceres Drive-In Theater Re-opens
CERES – After many years of sitting inactive, the Ceres Drive-In reopened over the weekend to a sell out crowd.
“This place was a junkyard when we took it over,” said Mark Stotzer. “We had to completely clean it out, everything from old boats to pallets.”
The theater infrastructure sat unused for several years. A fire in the summer of 2010 destroyed the snack bar, projection room and restrooms. It took Stotzer six weeks to rehabilitate the property, resurface the screen and get it ready for showtime.
Friday, families enjoyed a showing of the Disney movie “Frozen.” The opening packed out the property.
“I have a family, all of my employees have families, so it’s really bad when we have to drive to Sacramento to enjoy a true drive-in movie,” Stotzer said. “We were also looking for something outside of the box to keep our employees working.”
Stotzer, who works in the live event industry, normally hires several people during the busy concert season. COVID-19 had different plans, but he thinks the drive-in project is a good idea for both his employees and the community.
Friday was proof of concept in attendance numbers. Saturday packed in classic cars to the facility with a showing of American Graffiti, and Sunday held a showing of Marvel Studios’ Avengers.
During the month of October, several classic horror films are planned for the lineup, as well as family friendly movies every Friday night.
“This gives everyone a chance to get out under the stars and have a good time.”
Tickets and showtimes can be found at https://www.cerescruisein.com/
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