CENTER — The SLV Dish Cook Off celebration during the Frontier Drive-Inn public preview on July 9 added spice to the free event. Hundreds came to tour the renovated facility, sample competitive chili, patronize vendors, and settle in at sunset to watch “The Wizard of Oz.”
Built in 1955, the Frontier Drive-in reopened with a new focus. Now it’s the Frontier Drive-Inn with an extra “n” to focus on “hospitality and art with an outdoor theater and projected sound.”
Instead of parking in rows and hanging speakers on car windows or tuning car radios to the right frequency, spectators today sit in the grassy viewing area and hear the movie from concert-style speakers.
As the added “n” implies, guests can stay overnight. Plans to add RV campsite hookups will increase accommodation from rooms in four Quonset huts and 10 yurts. The preview on July 9 was open to the public free of charge, but most of the weekly screenings will be for guests only.
Program manager Adam Gildar said he will schedule periodic public viewings and notify the public. Gildar said they will focus on classic and cult films.
The renovated snack bar seats 25 and provides a full-kitchen menu that leans more toward “meal” than “snack.”
In addition to overnight accommodations, guests can enjoy protected views of the night sky. When the final credits roll off the big screen, folks can move to circular structures with innovative designs and construction.
Produced with a 3D printer, Antonito artist Ron Rael and his team Emerging Objects created adobe-style bricks to build the star-gazing pods.
The stage erected for musical performances throughout the day looked like it would block the screen for people on the grass up front. But crews quickly disassembled it before rolling vintage drive-in advertisements that encouraged folks to visit the snack bar.
The speakers were loud enough to overcome the sounds of joyful children playing in the background and traffic on Highway 285. The audience applauded at the end of the movie, partly for the film and also for a successful preview for the community on a pleasant summer night.