- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

WINCHESTER, Ind. (AP) - A once-defunct Randolph County drive-in theater sold earlier this year to new owners will reopen to the public Friday night.

The owners of Hummel Drive-In, which previously was known as Airline Twin Drive-In, said they are expecting hundreds of people to attend the theater’s first showing in nearly two years.

The theater sits across from the Randolph County airport, at 2870 Indiana 32 in Winchester.

“It’s going to be a sea of cars, I think,” said Pauletta Hummel, who bought the property with her husband, Shawn, in March. “It’s been a project we, and our family and friends, put a lot into, and we are really excited to see all that hard work (pay off) now.”

The lot will open at 7:30 p.m. for Friday’s and Saturday’s double-feature, which includes “Ice Age: Collision Course” and “Suicide Squad.” The band Dyslexic Funk will perform Friday once people begin to pull in to the lot, Hummel said. She said she has a slight concern about the traffic backups that could come along Ind. 32 as a result of Friday’s opening, but local law enforcement has offered to assist in ensuring things run smoothly.

“Randolph County Sheriff’s Department said they will help us out with traffic and some additional security for opening weekend, and we’re really grateful for that,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of people here, and we want to ensure that everyone has a safe, enjoyable night.”

The Hummels have set the movie schedule for the drive-in through October and will announce the week’s showings each Monday morning.

Hummel said Friday’s and Saturday’s expected draw is nearly 1,000 people per night. About 400-500 cars can fit in the two-screen lot. Visitors hear audio from the movie through the radio, she said.

The lot will only use one screen this season, as the family has decided to wait until at least next year to fix the damaged screen on the east end of the property.

“We are still planning to expand to two screens down the road, but right now, we are focusing on getting a knack for things using just the one screen,” she said.

The Hummels already have invested more than $270,000 into the drive-in, between buying the property and renovating the western portion of the site. Pauletta Hummel said renovations over the summer were an estimated $200,000, including the purchase of a new digital projector, the build-out of a booth in which it will be housed, extensive renovations to the concession stand and fencing in the playground area.

The concession stand was rehabilitated entirely, including the bathrooms, the service counter and the storage area. Barn-siding replaced the old concrete walls on the exterior, while new cupboards and counter tops were replaced in the concession area. The bathrooms also were completely renovated, she said.

Hummel said new signs have been commissioned for the drive-in and there are plans to rebuild the ticket booth on the east side of the property in the coming years.

“We really started from scratch, for the most part, on a lot of these things. The foundation was there, but we did whatever we could to improve the facility.” Hummel said. “This, we hope, becomes a place everyone in the community can enjoy using and visiting, and we’re really excited for the potential here.”

She said people are welcome to bring their own snacks for the movies, which cost $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 5-10 - the tickets are good for both films - but said alcohol and grills aren’t permitted on the property.

“We just want everyone to have a good time, and we want people to be safe when they’re here,” she said. “The weekends are about going to the movies, and we’re excited to be able to help people do that.”

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Source: (Richmond) Palladium-Item, http://pinews.co/2aQVrXn

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Information from: Palladium-Item, http://www.pal-item.com

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