Jan. 9: Continental, Newton AL

drive-in theater at sunset

photo from the Continental Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day Nine of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, my first day outside of Florida. I spent most of my five hours driving up the panhandle from Ocala to the Continental Drive-In in Newton AL.

The Continental concession stand is heavy on the pizza. Hawaiian pizza. Veggie pizza. Pizza logs. Supreme pizza. Even good old pepperoni pizza. I would have liked to have tried a pizza log, just for the experience, but it wasn’t to be.

The Continental has four screens, but they weren’t open on this winter Monday. I knew this would happen now and then along the trek, but I didn’t want to add a lot of miles just to catch weekend-only theaters on the right days. So I watched the college football national championship game (very big around here for some reason) and got to bed early.

Miles Today / Total: 297 / 704 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 7

Nearby Restaurant: There are a few towns near the drive-in, but nothing all that close. I went over to Daleville near Fort Rucker to try McLin’s Restaurant‘s famous hush puppies. It was just about 10 minutes away.

Where I Virtually Stayed: When I saw what was available in Daleville, I kept driving till I got to Enterprise. The Hampton Inn is always a safe bet. Normally I wouldn’t like driving 17 miles after a movie at night, but since the Continental was quiet tonight, I’m glad I did.

Only in Newton: About 65 percent of peanuts produced in the US are grown within a short radius of nearby Dothan, according to the book Alabama Curiosities. Dothan is the home of the National Peanut Festival, which draws over 160,000 for the 10-day event in November.

Next Stop: Coyote Drive In Theater, Leeds AL.

Harpersville AL reopens with a new name

The Harpersville (AL) Drive-In, which closed last year, reopened on October 8 this year, according to a story in the Shelby County Reporter. New owners Phillip and Stacy Padgett expanded the concession menu to add burgers and hot dogs, but the biggest change is the new name: The Twilight 280 Drive-In.

One thing that hasn’t changed yet is the projection system. Both screens still use film, though Padgett plans to upgrade to digital at some point. He also plans for the drive-in to host special events throughout the year.

You know, in all the years I’ve followed drive-in news, I’ve never seen this many startups and reopenings in such a short time. That this should all happen in the fall rather than the typical spring drive-in wake-up season just makes it all the more remarkable. Good times!

To read more about the Padgett’s plans and the new The Twilight 280, and to check out a photo from the Reporter article, you need to go read it!

Project Drive-In roundup 4: The list that wouldn’t die

In the third installment of our roundup of candidates for Honda’s Project Drive-In, I predicted that Honda would choose more than five lucky recipients of digital projectors. What I really didn’t anticipate was that Honda would reopen voting for the second set of winners.

With another round of voting comes another round of candidates that we haven’t mentioned so far, along with some (marked with an asterisk) who saw new stories about them after voting was extended. If you’re reading this, you’re already online, so go vote for your favorite!

* This drive-in was in a previous roundup, but a new story has been published about it after Honda extended voting for Project Drive-In.