Carlsbad NM’s Fiesta Drive-In Theatre, which has three screens, digital projectors, and some wonderful neon signage, will reportedly closed for good after this weekend.
According to Cinema Treasures, the Fiesta opened with a single screen in 1948. (It’s listed in my 1949 Theatre Catalog that way.) It closed in 1970, but was completely rebuilt in 1989 as a three screen drive-in. According to KOB, Albuquerque’s News Leader, the Fiesta was reopened by Brad Light in 1990. He passed away in 2010 and the Fiesta went dark until his daughter, Sidney Light, reopened it again in 2012.
Sidney made the announcement on November 29th on the drive-in’s Facebook page. “It’s with great sadness that I regret to inform everyone that Fiesta Drive-In will be closing permanently after the movie showings on December 9th. I have already sold the place.” The post blamed declining audiences and a desire to move on.
It’s a small comfort that the drive-in gave locals a chance to experience it one last time, but it’s so sad that Light, who reopened in 2012 to keep her father’s legacy going and because she “knew it was a huge thing in this town,” apparently couldn’t find a buyer willing to keep the Fiesta running. Even though I got some nice photos on the place in 2013, I’m sad that I’ll never get a chance to watch a movie there.