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Drive-in movies make a return to Kenosha
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Drive-in movies make a return to Kenosha

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In a summer filled with cancellations because of the ongoing pandemic, the Shalom Center and several of its partners found a creative way to provide some affordable entertainment.

And the idea is taking many adults back to their childhood, while also raising some necessary funds at the same time.

Coming on the heels of a successful debut, the Shalom Center is hosting its second part of its “Summer Cinema” drive-in movie series Saturday night in the parking lot of the UAW/Local 72, 3615 Washington Road.

The gates open at 7 p.m., with the featured film, “Sing,” set to begin at 9 p.m. A freewill donation of a minimum $20 per carload is requested. The lot is limited to 200 cars, and advance reservations are requested by going to www.shalomcentermovienight.eventbrite.com.

Visitors should enter from Washington Road, and parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Compact cars will be in the front, with larger vehicles further back.

A variety of concessions will be available as well, including popcorn, ice cream from Culver’s and selections from Durango’s and 911 Tacos, Kona Ice and possibly the Sugar Boxx.

Shalom Center Executive Director Tamara Coleman said the idea for a drive-in movie series was born through a conversation with Holly Tuttle-Barthuly of Kenosha Cares and Herzing Senior Director of Admissions Erin Ginn, who is on the Shalom Center board of directors and serves at the fundraising chairperson.

And in the times we’re currently facing, things had to get a bit creative.

“We wanted to make it kid-friendly, family-focused and (use it as a) fundraiser,” Coleman said. “The challenge was I didn’t want to get into making it an (expensive) event. People’s funds are tight, and if they’re not tight, they’re watching how they’re spending their money these days a little closer.

“... We set a minimum of $20 per carload, so you can come in a van with five kids, you and your spouse and their friends, pop that hood like that old time, bring your blankets, tables and chairs and sit out and watch a great drive-in movie.”

Coleman said the drive-in idea took her back to her childhood when her parents would take the family to one on Sheridan Road.

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“That was a family thing we just did,” she said. “My parents took me and my sisters. We had a minivan back then. We had popcorn and looked forward to the drive-in. ... We wanted families to be able to make those kind of memories again.”

First one a hit

The debut of the three-movie series, “Moana,” was postponed by a week because of rain, but Coleman said the rescheduled date June 27 was a huge success. She added that, even with the week delay, 139 spots were reserved in advance for the original opening date.

Opening the gates well in advance of the movie gives visitors a chance to help out the vendors as well, Coleman said.

“We wanted to encourage people to come early and buy from the concessions,” she said. “Again, helping small businesses. It’s all community here. We’re all in this together. ... It was just great. It was a wonderful, wonderful time.”

Coleman said plans are in the works for a third movie later this summer, with a tentative date of Saturday, Aug. 22. The movie for that night has yet to be determined.

Social-distancing measures also have been put into place to put people’s minds at ease, Coleman said.

“We can still have a good time social distancing,” she said. “People wore masks. We have bathrooms available. We had hand sanitizer everywhere and markers to show if you’re waiting in line for food what is six feet apart.

“We want to still make people feel comfortable coming out. We encourage people, if you’re walking around and leaving your little group to put your mask on. People were respectful (of that).”

At the end of the day, the event checks off several boxes, Coleman said.

“Family time is important, but activities are just as important as a family,” she said. “If we can bring families together, help small businesses and bring in a little money for the Shalom Center, it’s a win-win for us, and we’re happy about that.

“... It doesn’t have to all be boring this summer, and we don’t have to complain about not having anything to do. This is just another avenue to create those memories. We’re just happy that we can bring it to the community.”

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