Video: Haar’s Land Is For Sale

More possibly sad news, this time from the venerable Haar’s Drive-In Theatre in Dillsburg PA. A For Sale sign popped up on the site last week, and now I know that it’s news to the drive-in’s owner. I found out thanks to a news video posted by ABC27, Harrisburg’s News Leader.

Vickie Hardy is the third-generation owner of Haar’s, which was built starting in 1952 and opened in June 1953. She told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, “Sunday a week ago, we were driving by and seeing someone putting a sign up … it was a sign putting the property we are on for sale”.

The York Daily Record had more information about the landowner, Giant Food Stores. “We regularly review our real estate portfolio to ensure it meets strategic priorities, and as a result we made the business decision to sell the property,” said Christopher Brand, director of external communications at Giant. “It is our hope that if a buyer emerges, they will continue to lease the land to Haar’s.”

All three sources said that the lease contained a provision requiring six months’ notice before changes, and the Daily Record said Brand apologized that Haar’s didn’t get that notice. Hardy told the Patriot-News, “They informed me that yes, they were supposed to tell us six months in advance, and they’re sorry they didn’t do that.”

I find this especially troubling considering the expensive recent improvements at Haar’s. The drive-in bought a digital projector in 2013, a new screen in 2016, and Hardy told ABC27 that they had spent thousands more this year.

I’ve got a warm spot in my heart for the Dillsburg drive-in where I concluded my virtual Drive-In-A-Day Odyssey a couple of years ago. It’s a great example of a family-owned drive-in, the kind that won’t close just because their land has become valuable. But if they don’t own that land, well, let’s just hope that Haar’s can find a way to stay in business for many years to come.

Video: Moonlite Reopens in West Wyoming PA

Great news! After sitting idle for 30 years, the Moonlite Drive-In in West Wyoming PA has reopened. Even better is that we have video of the event courtesy of WNEP, Scranton’s News Leader.

Owner Eric Symeon bought the place in early 2017 and spent two years working to clear out the effects of decades of neglect. He told the nearby Times Leader, “There was only two of us working on it, clearing the land, doing all new sewers, electric.” WNEP added the detail that over 200 trees were removed to make room for the restored parking ramps.

If you want to read more about the process, Carload ran stories on Symeon’s work as he applied to reopen the Moonlite and when he bought the drive-in’s digital projector from the freshly closed Cascade Drive-In of West Chicago IL earlier this year. Then sit back, watch the video, and rejoice that another drive-in has rejoined the land of the living.

West Wyoming PA’s Moonlite May Reopen

Clean wide drive-in screen in daylight

The restored screen at the Moonlite Drive-In from a July 2018 photo on its Facebook page

After percolating for a couple of years, the Moonlite Drive-In might be ready to turn the lights back on in West Wyoming PA this June. According to The Citizens’ Voice, owner Eric Symeon bought a digital projector from the recently closed Cascade Drive-In in West Chicago IL.

Symeon has been working on this project since early 2017, which I wrote about back then. Last summer, he restored the screen by replacing missing panels and painting it. The Voice article said he’s currently working on the electrical system and fixing the concession stand. And if he’s put down the cash for the projector, that makes his announced date of June sound even more likely.

The Moonlite first opened around 1951, and for almost all of its first life it was listed as being owned by James Rizzo. Some early directories showed it starting with just 100 cars, then growing to 350 or 400, so Rizzo might have added rows to the lot. The Voice article said that the Moonlite has been closed for 32 years, making 1987 the end until now.

It’s always a shame when a perfectly good drive-in dies, but there’s a little hope salvaged when its parts can help revive or expand another drive-in. I hope there’s a happy ending here later this year.