GLEN ROCK, NJ - For many, drive-in movie theaters stir up nostalgic images of vintage cars, poodle skirts, and popcorn. You don't have to look too far this summer for outdoor drive-in movie theaters, though. Not only were they invented right here in NJ, they're now popping up all over, even here in Glen Rock.
Tentatively, there is an outdoor movie night scheduled for Friday, August 7 at St. Catharine’s Church, at sundown, according to Chris O’Reilly, Glen Rock's Parks & Recreation Director. The movie is to be decided and there will be more information forthcoming.
Other venues have already started this new/old summer trend, including private entities, such as Paramus's Garden State Plaza and Woodcliff Lake's Demarest Farms.
The seemingly always innovative Demarest Farms in Woodcliff Lake opened a drive-in theater in the spring, giving some movie-goers a taste of the past, others a new adventure, and everyone an escape from reality in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Ed Frischkorn, Director of Public Relations & Advertising for Demarest Farms explained that owner Jason DeGise started the theater in a quest for family summer activities.
In 1933, Richard Hollingshead opened the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey. Who knew New Jersey was the birthplace of the drive-in? Hollingshead’s idea caught on, and drive-in theaters began to open across the country. At one point in time, New Jersey was home to more than 40 drive-in theaters! Until recently, New Jersey had only one remaining drive-in operating in the state, The Delsa Drive-in. The Delsa Drive-in, located in Vineland, NJ, was opened in 1949, shut down in 1987, and sat vacant until 2004 when it was purchased and reopened by John DeLeonardis.
Unfortunately for those not in time, Demarest Farms has already sold out of tickets through the summer. Frischkorn explains that they “sold out of the season before we opened.” But if you haven’t been able to attend the drive-in, worry not! Demarest Farms has set aside a few rain dates, and if those dates are not used, they will become new showings for new movies. In keeping with the yesteryear-feel of drive-ins, Demarest Farms is showing classics like Grease and Dirty Dancing, as well as newer movies like Sonic and Frozen II. They offer a large selection, and something for everyone to enjoy.
The drive-in is the perfect social-distancing activity and Demarest Farms is taking all necessary precautions. Every staff member wears a mask and gloves. The capacity of the theater is 100 cars, each parked six feet apart. Tickets and concessions are all ordered online to avoid cash or credit card handling. Additionally, Demarest Farms has invested in a new bathroom trailer with a working sink and hand sanitizer.
Demarest Farms has had past issues with traffic due to all the excitement garnered by their events. Frischkorn assures that traffic is not an issue at the drive-in. Cars may begin arriving at 7:30 pm, and the movie start-time is determined by nature. Whenever the sun sets, the movie begins, usually around 8:30 or 8:45 pm. This large time window alleviates the rush of traffic.
The drive-in is well-received, with many people hopefully inquiring if it will be an annual attraction, and even asking to rent it out for events like birthday parties. While Demarest Farms is unsure of what the future holds for the drive-in, it is clear that this fun activity is worth experiencing. Keep an eye out for any extra tickets so you can see for yourself!