‘Uniquely American experience,’ Elm Road Triple Drive-In one of a few hundred left in country

Local News

As warmer weather approaches, seasonal businesses begin to reemerge. For Elm Road Triple Drive-In Theatre, Friday was opening day.

“We have a you know, a short season, we have a shoulder season in the spring where we’re open weekends only, then we’re full time basically in June, July, and August and then a shoulder season when we’re weekends only in the fall,”  said Sheri Hocevar.

Mark and Sheri Hocevar are the owners of the drive in, they say opening weekend is a chance for the employees to get warmed up and the equipment to get up and running again. 

The Elm Road Triple Drive-In Theatre first opened in 1950, Sheri’s grandfather was the original owner. 

“We’ve had to change with the times, we’ve had to adapt,” she said.

“And I think the other thing that’s happened over the years is the introduction of technology in our business,” Mark said.

In the 1950s, there were nearly 4,000 drive in theaters in the US. By 2013, that number would decline to roughly 350.

“A lot of drive ins have closed. Operating expenses are extremely high, seasonal business just really tough to survive and with the drive in, we’re even limited further by weather conditions,” Sheri said.

There are still a few drive ins left in the area.

But, with such a huge decline, drive ins like Elm Road has seen its fair share of upgrades and changes to stay current and up to date.

“We’ve converted to digital movie projectors, in 2013, that was an extensive undertaking. You’ll see speakers on the poles, but we have not used them since about 1979,” Mark said.

Elm Road Triple Drive in has three movie screens, so that means three digital movie projectors. In the concession stand though, you can see the original 35mm movie projector on display.

Sheri and Mark said they have had many loyal customers who visit the drive in yearly, and some even travel over an hour just to come. 

“We are always so happy to see that we have so many new customers every year,” Sheri said.

And as the season continues, they expect more and more customers to visit.

“If you haven’t been to a drive in, you gotta come, you gotta experience it,” Sheri said.

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