Quasar Drive-In Theater
Quasar Drive-In Theater Coming Soon, the headlines read. Memories of visiting my cousin as a child filled my mind. We sat high on the hill overlooking Skyview Drive-In. Mesmerized by the action on the enormous screen but no sound, we created a storyline. My expectations for this drive-in theater were nonexistent since I had never experienced the real thing.
Why a Drive-In Theater?
While on their honeymoon in 2013, Jeff and Jenny Karls dreamed of their future. Attending a Pittsburgh drive-in, they chatted about owning one of their own. To the couple, drive-ins had one thing in common; a community center where families & friends gathered. Kids hurried to the playground; friends were made, bonds formed, memories made.
By 2015, they pursued their dream fueled by family nostalgia. Drive-Ins seemed a thing of the past; the land had more value than business revenue, and the digital conversion era was in full swing. This adventure would be a work of heart.
Work in Progress
In 2017, Jeff and Jenny purchased a 40-acre parcel of land between Fremont and Omaha. Friends scratched their heads and asked the never-ending question. Why?
Amid research and planning, they built the facility from scratch. In 2018, Kansas City’s I-70 Drive-In lost their lease, with only a month to liquidate. Roadtrip! Jeff and Jenny then purchased screens and vintage concession equipment, including food warmers and the popcorn machine. With the sound system in place, they were one step closer to their dream. Every detail mattered, crafted with care and attention.
One day, they hope to have Bluetooth field speakers to complete the vintage feel. Until Bluetooth technology improves, FM radio broadcasts sound with no lag time. The theater continues to be a work in progress. The erection of the second screen, for greater movie-showing flexibility, tops the to-do list.
In March 2020, Covid-19 crippled the country. A few weeks later, the Los Angeles Times featured a cover story deeming drive-ins essential. The setting was perfect for social distancing while preventing people from going stir crazy. Their dream idea became genius.
Opening Night at Quasar Drive-In Theater
Last week, their vision came to life. Quasar Drive-In Theater opened. Dust swirled in our wake as we pulled into the theater. We were impressed with the well-planned entrance and surprised by the size of the facility.
Floodlights topped the gigantic 85×35′ screen which towered over ten rows of parking stalls able to accommodate 540 cars. We chose a spot and ensured the headlights were off, following the rules like a good couple.
Vintage cars dotted the parking lot, setting the scene for the movies; American Graffiti and Grease. The shutter of my camera clicked at a rapid pace as we drooled.
Jeff stood in the middle of a packed theater, turned three-sixty, and his heart threatened to burst from the support of the community.
With time to spare, we followed the solar-lit path to the concession stand. Equipment filled the space, reminiscent of days gone by, nailing scenes from movies such as The Outsiders and Grease. The aroma of buttered popcorn filled the air making my mouth water. Bomb pops and ice cream sandwiches teased from freezers. Funnel cake fries, yes, please. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and french fries were also available.
Roll the Film
I fought the urge to skip to the car while excitement coursed through my body. My husband turned on the radio while I snuggled in a blanket. Pink Panther appeared on the screen while everyone settled in for the feature film. Cruising the strip of my husband’s favorite, American Graffiti, came to life before our eyes. Revving engines rumbled through the stereo.
Vintage intermission cartoons cracked us up as the hotdog jumped in the bun and drinks performed a dance routine with their straws. These were the same cartoons as shown at the drive-in scene of Grease, filmed 43 years earlier.
Speaking of Grease, one of my all-time favorite movies… we rolled up the windows, so no one thought John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John was in the car as I belted out every song. My poor husband. I managed to resist the urge to get on the hood for Greased Lightning. You know what I’m talking about. It’s safe to say the drive-in experience hooked me as I continue to sing “Stranded at the Drive-In” a week later.
Let’s All Go to the Drive-In
Gates open, Thursday through Saturday, at 6:30 pm. Movies begin at dusk, rain or shine, except during extreme weather. The theater is available for private events.
Throwback Thursdays feature vintage movies such as The Karate Kid. Throwbacks will encourage – pack the car, hide them in the trunk mentality – of days of old. We are not suggesting to pack anyone in the trunk, but at just $20 per vehicle, load family or friends and enjoy the show.
Jeff said, “With Hollywood shut down for Covid, new releases are harder to come by, making scheduling a challenge.” Weekend features will showcase newer release double features slated to change every other week. You can’t beat the price of $10/person for a night of unique entertainment.
Quasar plans to host theme-based events such as Field of Dreams during the College World Series and spooky movies at Halloween. Can you imagine watching Children of the Corn in the middle of a cornfield? Yikes.
Jeff encourages the public to support local businesses and says, “Quasar is a mom and pop adventure brought to life because two stubborn people set their mind to something.”
We wish you the best.
To learn more about Quasar Drive-In, click here.
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