Jan. 18: WesMer, Mercedes TX

Ticket booth and back of WesMer drive-in screen

photo from the WesMer Drive-In Theatre web site

It’s Day 18 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and I was back to a very long drive, this time from little Hockley to the WesMer Drive-In Theater in Mercedes TX, near the southern tip of the state. Another five and a half hours on the road. Glad I brought along some good audiobooks.

The WesMer is named for its location between Mercedes & Weslaco. When did it first open? Two online sources report “the late 1940s,” but my Theatre Catalogs from ’48 and ’49 don’t list it. By the 1952 catalog, the Wes-Mer is in. The drive-in closed in the mid 1980s, then reopened in 1994. It’s always nice to see another drive-in brought back to life.

Many drive-ins run a flea market during daylight hours. The WesMer is the first I’ve seen that’s across the street from the flea market.

I like a concession stand that provides something different. In this case, I picked up a Frito pie and a bowl of chili to go with the usual popcorn and bottled water.

I should be glad that the WesMer is showing something tonight. It would be petty to mention that, with only one screen, I’m stuck watching Assassin’s Creed as the early show for the third time in 10 days. Even if its Tomatometer reading is an ugly 17%.

Miles Today / Total:  359 / 2294 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Assassin’s Creed / 12

Nearby Restaurant: The closest restaurant is also the best Italian restaurant for miles around. Cortino’s offer freshly made pasta dishes and homemade deserts. It’s just the kind of little family place that I love to find.

Where I Virtually Stayed: There were a few good choices, but I still got a pretty good deal at the Holiday Inn Express in Weslaco. A mini-fridge, microwave, and Keurig coffee machine in the room made me almost wish I could stay longer instead of another long drive in the morning.

Only in Mercedes: In nearby Hidalgo, Mayor John Franz got the Hidalgo Economic Development Department to spend $20,000 to build the world’s largest killer bee. The 10-foot-high statue still sits in front of the Hidalgo city hall, but they tell me that it’s portable.

Next Stop: Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre, New Braunfels TX.

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