May 16: Starlight Drive-In Theatre, Enderby BC

Two levels of parked cars, with Starlight spelled out behind them

photo from the Starlight Drive-In web site

It’s Day 136 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. After my longest drive of the year, to the Park Drive-In Theatre in remote Prince George BC, it was time to drive back. The Starlight Drive-In Theatre south of Enderby made for a shorter drive, but only slightly; it still took seven and a half hours to cover 662 km.

The Starlight claims to have the largest drive-in screen in North America – 50 feet high by 120 wide. It may also be the only drive-in with an upper level for cars, as shown in the photo in this post.

According to a YouTube video, projectionist Paul Lindquist “noticed a run-down, abandoned movie theater,” in the early 2000s. “There were trees growing in the field, the fence was half blown over, the building was just a piece of garbage and dogs had been living inside,” he told The Globe and Mail. Lindquist found a couple of partners and “re-opened” the place in 2002.

Lindquist holds Carload nights on Thursdays in mid-season. Once he accepted a Greyhound bus full of passengers. “People said, ‘You’re nuts. Look at the money you’re losing.’ I said, ‘You’re nuts. Look at the fun I’m having.’ ” Now that’s the kind of healthy, confident attitude that makes customers want to keep coming back.

But for me, after all that driving, I was sad to find that the Starlight only shows movies on weekends this time of year. As it turned out, I just missed a special Thursday night event, the Third Wheel Car Show, which had a couple of hours of classic cars followed by a couple movies.

Miles Today / Total:  411 / 15527 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 61

Nearby Restaurant: At Fisherman Direct Seafood, they advertise BC’s Best Fish & Chips, and they may be right. In an unpretentious setting, two pieces of battered cod and fresh fries provided a meal that beat the fish and chips I ate in London. There was coleslaw involved, but sometimes you just can’t avoid that.

Where I Virtually Stayed: After two long days of driving, I was in the mood for some inexpensive pampering, so I went a little south to Armstrong and the Schubert Estate Bed & Breakfast there. There are only three guest rooms, but one was available for me at a very good rate. I had a king bed and my own bathroom and a flat-screen TV. I relaxed in the common library in the evening and started the day with a homemade breakfast.

Only in Enderby: A few miles northeast on the highway toward Revelstoke, you’ll find an The Enchanted Forest, with over 350 jolly folk art figurines, “BC’s tallest, grandest tree house” that rises 50 feet into the forest canopy, a giant cedar stump house, castle, dungeons and other surprises. It started as one couple’s 1950s retirement project, and was opened to the public in the 1960s.

Next stop: Auto-Vue Drive-In Theatre, Colville WA.