Last year about this time, the story of Wichita KS’s Starlite Drive-In Theatre was a sad one indeed. Its recently acquired owner had shut down the Starlite and was reportedly on the verge of selling the place for warehouse development.
Remarkably, the Starlite recovered. Local leaders saw the importance of the city’s last drive-in and came up with a plan that saved it. So this week’s report by KSNW, Wichita’s News Leader, is more of a quiet celebration of the end of a successful season where the only drama was on the big screen.
The news story has some nice video of the Starlite, which is always welcome here, and it includes a few interview clips with current owner Blake Smith. He said that attendance is up a bit, and that it took him a little while to learn how to execute some of the fundamentals of running the drive-in.
Souvenir cups were a big hit this season at the Starlite, and Smith said he’s considering selling season passes for 2020. I would suggest that those cups are a no-brainer; if they’re refillable, they sit around as a constant advertisement and reminder to come back for more movies. Season passes are trickier. I hope that Smith gets good advice on those.
I also hope that this note finishes the saga of near-closure and civic redemption for the Starlite, which should settle back down as just another successful drive-in. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of how it looks today.