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Unique Southington Drive-In Brings Out Civic Pride

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There are only a few left in the state, and Saturday night kicked off the resurrected Southington Drive-In theater’s fourth season. The movie choice was “Jaws.” For families, it was just a fun night out, but for civic organizations this marks the beginning of their summer duties.

The reason the theater is back is because of local groups that helped save it. The Southington Drive-in Committee is the group responsible for maintaining the property. Back in 2002, the more than 50-year-old drive-in closed. But it reopened in 2010 as a non-profit. Saturday marked the four-year mark of the committee taking over the duties, and organizers expect it to be another great year.

“We are the only not for profit where we give our monies, our proceeds back to local civic organizations so we are quite unique nationwide for that,” said Dawn Miceli of the Southington Drive-in Committee.

It didn’t take long to fill the lawn up with cars — 400 could fit inside for an evening under the stars.

“We just like to come to the drive-in and sit out here and watch movies,” said Russell Bly.

“We used to come here all the time when I was little. My brother and my father came because my mom worked,” said Jason Ghidini.

The Southington Education Foundation took over all volunteer work from directing traffic to cooking up a movie favorite, popcorn.

“The proceeds will go right back into the schools to help fund grants and the programs that we have within the schools,” said Beth Pestillo, a member of the foundation.

The cost is $10 a carload for Southington residents and $13 for others. At the end of the season all the money raised from ticket sales goes to civic groups and an operating fund for the maintenance of the theater.

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