Drive-In offers retro fun

Published 5:39 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2011

During a movie at the Harpersville Drive-In, a pair of girls go for a snack break. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

HARPERSVILLE – With summer’s long, hot days approaching quickly, families searching for local opportunities for quality time should journey down U.S. 280 to Harpersville.

There, right off the highway, is the Harpersville Drive-In movie theater, which owner Brian Skinner refers to as pure Americana.

“I have a lot of parents that say, ‘This is the first thing we’ve really done together,'” Skinner said. “This is a family thing. It just makes you feel good.”

New families also love the drive-in, Skinner said.

“New mommas love it too, because they can’t take a new baby to the theater, but they can take them to the drive-in,” he said.

Although the Harpersville Drive-In has only been in existence since 2006, the family fun it offers goes back decades.

Lights at the Harpersville Drive-In reflect off the top of a car during a movie on April 9. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

In the mid-2000s, when drive-in theaters were dying out across America, Brian Skinner saw an opportunity in the close-knit Harpersville community.

“I always thought that would be a good location,” he said. “Harpersville is about 20 minutes outside of Birmingham. It’s the perfect distance. It would pull from Birmingham, but yet it would pull from the outlying areas.”

Today, the Harpersville Drive-In is open Friday and Saturday nights all year long, and after school lets out for the summer, hours will expand to Wednesdays through Sundays. All showtimes are at 7:30 p.m., and the price is $5 for adults and $2 for children.

Skinner said the drive-in focuses on family-friendly fare, such as the upcoming “Rio,” an animated flick opening April 15 and the new Tyler Perry movie, “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” which opens April 22.

The concession stand offers popcorn, nachos and cheese, sodas and candy.

Skinner said families often make an afternoon of it, spending time at the drive-in before the movies get started.

“Bring your lounge chairs and your baseball gloves, and just play out there until it gets dark,” Skinner said.

Customers can get a weekly update about what movies are showing at the Harpersville Drive-In by visiting and entering an email address or a phone number to receive text messages. To find out what movies are showing by phone, call 672-8484.