It was a beautiful summer evening in 1977, I was 6 years old, and my mom and dad had a special treat for me. They were surprising me with a trip to the Springmill Drive-In to watch the Walt Disney Production and animated drama, The Rescuers. Not only was this the first time that I had been to the drive-in, but this was also the first time I’d ever watch a movie on the Big Screen. The experience was unforgettable and though years have passed, I still have a special place in my heart for both The Rescuers (who could forget Evinrude, the dragonfly?) and Springmill Drive-in.
I was so excited to see that the drive-in is now open for the 2020 season! I can’t wait to go!
The Springmill Drive-In, located in Mansfield, Ohio, first opened with one screen in the late 1950s. If you think drive-ins are a thing of the past, keep in mind that a couple of years ago, the owners added another screen at the rear of the theatre lot, making room for 150 more cars! Proof that people still love old fashioned fun! Nostalgia aside, many patrons flock to the drive-in because they can watch two movies for less than the price of one regular priced movie. Throw in a carload special (which are offered from time to time) and you have fun, family-friendly entertainment anyone can afford.
Unlike a traditional theater, you’re permitted to bring snacks from home. But don’t be surprised if the smell of the food cooking in the concession stand wafting throughout the parking lot lures you inside for freshly popped popcorn, pizza, nachos, hot dogs, or other American movie fare.
A couple of tips to keep in mind when going to the drive-in:
1. If you want your choice of parking spots, don’t wait until the movie is scheduled to start before you arrive, especially for really popular movies. Cars begin lining up before the box office opens.
2. Pay attention to parking suggestions- small cars park in front, large SUV’s, trucks, and vans park in designated rows.
3. Take a look at the weather forecast before making plans to visit the drive-in. Visibility is always better on clear nights.
4. Make sure your car stereo is working or take a radio from home. The sound for the movie is broadcasted through AM/FM channels.
5. Mansfield is in Ohio and Ohio has mosquitoes. It would be wise to pack a bottle of mosquito repellent just in case it’s needed.
6. If you want to spread out and get comfortable, take along the folding chairs. We even take an air mattress and blankets, back into our spot, and pile in the back of the truck.
7. Pack your own snacks and drinks. Better yet, copy our tradition and grab a Deschner’s Pizza before your movie begins. Note that you will need to buy a permit to take in your own food.
8. Keep in mind that though you are in your own vehicle, the cars around you will be able to hear you so keep the noise down. Don’t honk the horn and don’t flash your lights during the movie. Be courteous to others.
Intrigued by drive-in theaters?
When did the first drive-in open?
What was the first movie shown at the drive-in?
Check out these resources to find out. It will make for some fun intermission trivia.
Springmill Drive-in 1040 Springmill Road Mansfield, Ohio 44901 Office: 419-747-2156 Showtimes vary throughout the season.