Virginia Love Letters Coming to Family Drive in Celebrating 60 Years of Success

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Family Drive In is celebrating its 60th Anniversary the weekend of June 17, 18, and 19th with the arrival of the VIRGINIA LOVE LETTERS. For 60 years, The Family Drive In has been serving families of northern Virginia offering summer evening entertainment for multi-generations.

Kids Trail | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Family settled in for a night at the Drive In

Movies at their best under the stars

Family Drive In is celebrating its 60th Anniversary the weekend of June 17, 18, and 19th with the arrival of the VIRGINIA LOVE LETTERS. The state of Virginia believes that “Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.“ For 60 years, The Family Drive In has been serving families of northern Virginia offering summer evening entertainment for multi-generations.

The Family Drive-In Theatre, 5890 Valley Pike (US Rt 11) in Stephens City, Virginia is Virginia's largest drive-in, offering two screens, a playground for the children, classic car speakers on lighted poles, family affordable concessions and the latest Hollywood films for their patrons.

What is it about a drive in theater that has the older generations smiling from happy memories? “The Drive In Theater in the 50’s and 60’s was the classic date night for young couple,” said Jim Kopp. “It was and is today sustained by families who find the environment a perfect entertainment option for parents, grandparents, and kids.”

In 1933, Richard Hollingshead, an auto parts salesman, opened the first theatre and ushered in a new way to watch movies “under the stars”. Hollingshead's concept caught on fast and by the mid-60’s there were close to 5,000 drive-ins open world-wide. The 50’s and 60’s were when the industry was in its prime. By the 70’s and 80’s the drive in’s were not allowed to have new releases and by the 90’s the industry was almost on its way out. It was in the late 90’s that the movie industry embraced the drive in’s as great family entertainment and resurgence began. Today there are only 300 drive ins in the US with 6 in Virginia.

To celebrate the 60th, The Family Drive In will have a VIP event on Saturday, June 18th. “There will be a special tent for invited officials, businesses and friends who have supported us over the years,” said Kopp. “We will also have a band, bounce house and magician for the kids. There will be cake for everyone who attends.” The movies are Finding Dory and Alice thru the Looking Glass on the big screen and Central Intelligence and Independence Day-Resurgence on the second screen.

On June 19th, the Kids Trail will celebrate the anniversary with a special “Bucket’s Buddy” rewards night. Lots of prizes can be won to family attractions here in the Shenandoah Valley. All kids attending with get a chance to win an “18 free Admissions Prize from The Family Drive In. Play the history card sponsored by the Family Drive In and find the magic word to win a free ice cream. Families can also get one’s picture taken in front of the Virginia LOVE letters. The state of Virginia believes that “Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.“

Jim Kopp said, “I have brought the Virginia LOVE letters here because I have been in LOVE with drive in theaters since I was a teenager. I had many a date night at the Super 29 in Fairfax, Virginia. Once I retired from my government services, I found a drive in for sale on EBAY in North Carolina. At the same time, I told the owner here in Winchester to let me know when he wanted to retire. He did and suddenly I had two drive in’s in two states. I sold the one in North Carolina. I knew the Shenandoah Valley was where I wanted to be.“

When asked about the future of the drive in theaters, Jim gave mixed feelings. “The drive in offers a unique movie experience that cannot be duplicated in any other environment. Families embrace the experience because it is affordable and we truly cater to kids. Where else can you go where it is okay to put the kids in PJ’s and come out and have a night out for Mom and Dad with the kids safely with you. However, we are weather dependent which this year with all the rain has definitely hurt us. Most of the owners are older and I am not sure their families want to take on the late hours associated with the drive in industry. However, there are several new drive ins being built particularly in the South with four screens and attached to outlet malls. I hope the drive ins will survive because it is the smile you see when you asked people at some of the festivals and tradeshows we attend if they have ever been to a drive in, that makes one value the experience.”

Movie admission is: $8 for adults and $4 for children (ages 3-11). The concession offers good food and is the lifeline to sustainability for the drive in.

Voted by Go Blue Ridge Travel 'a must experience childhood experience', come out and celebrate one of America’s favorite roadside attractions and re-live the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and experience how much fun it is to see a movie “under the stars” at one of America’s remaining drive-in theatres!

About GoBlueRidgeTravel.com
Launched in December 2011, Go Blue Ridge Travel (GoBRT) is an e-commerce marketing company using digital internet channels to both create a travel ecosystem community for the northern Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of VA, WV, and MD. In 2014, the Kids Trail was launched to promote multi-generational family travel and has received three grants from Virginia Tourism. In 2016, Taste of Blue Ridge, a foodie escape experience supporting local resourcing in the valley.

Founded and owned by Nancy Craun who grew up in the area and has 30 years of experience in the event planning, restaurant, hotel, and marketing arenas. GoBRT covers 160 plus mile radius of the Interstate 81 Corridor spanning the states of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Contact: Nancy Craun Founder and Owner GoBlueRidgeTravel.com and ShenandoahValleyKidsTrail.com Phone: 540.533.1853 Email: info(at)GoBlueRidgeTravel(dot)com

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Nancy Craun
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since: 07/2010
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