May 11: Rodeo Drive-In Theatre, Bremerton WA

Rodeo Drive-In sign and main screen

photo from the Rodeo Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 131 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took less than an hour to drive from Shelton WA to the Rodeo Drive-In Theatre in Bremerton.

According to the Rodeo’s history page, the original “Rodeo Motor Movies” was built in 1949 as a single-screen theater for over 600 cars. In 1977, the Rodeo was sold to Cascade/Seven Gables Cinemas, a small chain with headquarters in Seattle.

In 1978, Cascade logged out the back property of the Rodeo and added two more screens, a new snack bar and a new box-office complex. (There’s a construction photo available if you scroll down here.) In 1986, the Rodeo Drive-In was sold the Ondracek family.

“Today, with 3 screens and a total car capacity of about 1,000, the Rodeo is the largest outdoor theatre complex in Washington State and by far the largest and oldest family owned drive-in in the Northwest.”

As shown by the Facebook photo above and documented by the Kitsap Sun, the Rodeo opened for a couple of weekends in December 2015 to show Star Wars: The Force Awakens. More drive-ins ought to try special event weekends like that, weather permitting.

The Rodeo is open Fridays through Sundays this time of year, leaving me without a movie for another Thursday night.

Miles Today / Total:  35 / 14497 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 59

Nearby Restaurant: The closest restaurant to the Rodeo is adjacent to the airport that’s right next door. The Airport Diner is known for its fish and chips, but the best part of eating there is the view of the small planes at Bremerton National Airport.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It had been too long since I’d stayed at a Hampton Inn, so I was glad to see one in Bremerton. Great views of the bay and within easy walking distance of the ferry terminal to Seattle, in case I wanted to watch folks throw fish. Great wifi and a fridge in my room, the usual above-average continental breakfast. It was a great place to spend the money I’d saved by staying at less expensive places over the past couple of weeks.

Only in Bremerton: Every year around Labor Day, Bremerton holds a Blackberry Festival. The 2017 schedule features the Berry Fun Run, blackberry wine tasting, the Kitsap County Weight Loss Challenge, and a “Chalk the Block” Art Contest.

Next stop: Wheel-In-Motor Movie Drive In, Port Townsend WA.