Here’s some good news for the New Year. Veteran drive-in operator John Watzke, currently running the Ocala Drive-In in Florida, is building another ozoner west of Bay St. Louis MS. Work actually started a few months ago on the still-unnamed drive-in, but last week we were treated to a full story about the project and Watzke in the Mississippi Free Press.
In reverse of how this usually goes, the new drive-in is being built on the site of an old trailer park. The 10-acre plot has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and did what hurricanes do to trailer parks. (Seriously, living in a Gulf Coast mobile home seems to me like walking to work across a busy interstate highway. But I digress.)
Watzke said his drive-in should open by April 2023 with a 60×34-foot screen 45 feet up. If all goes well, he’ll add a second screen a few years later. The concession stand will include an arcade, and the menu will have such Ocala favorites as muffaletts and po-boys.
The article has much more, including plenty of Watzke-provided photos, history of his family’s involvement with theaters, and a mention of controlling fire ants. (And you thought mosquitoes were the most annoying insects.) So now you know you need to go read it!