Drive-in movie theater re-opens

HARPERSVILLE – A new and improved drive-in movie theater has re-opened in Harpersville.

Now called The Twilight 280 Drive-In, the theater first opened in 2006, closed in 2015 and officially re-opened Oct. 8.

The drive-in featured Halloween-themed films the weekend of Oct. 28, said new owner Phillip Padgett, who operates the facility with his wife Stacy.

Films included Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, Hotel Transylvania and Monster House.

Padgett said local residents were polled to determine their interest in the drive-in re-opening.

“Everybody said, ‘We want it back,’” Padgett said.

An improvement visitors should notice is an expanded offering of concessions.

Instead of simply popcorn, candy and drinks, the drive-in now sells those movie staples along with hot dogs, burgers, nachos and barbecue, Padgett said.

The owner and operator said he plans for the drive-in to enter the digital age. The facility currently uses film technology.

However, the transition would require an investment of at least $150,000 for new projectors so it will not take place immediately, Padgett said.

Padgett said digital technology would allow the drive-in to record its own commercials for local businesses, show a larger selection of movies and even screen special events, such as the Iron Bowl college football game.

“Once we [go digital], it’s going to open up some more avenues for us,” Padgett said.

Padgett said he also plans for the drive-in to host special events throughout the year.

For example, he has had conversations with the Alabama Bluegrass Music Association about a possible three-day bluegrass festival.

The drive-in offers partnerships for fundraisers for local non-profit groups like schools and churches. Group members would promote visiting the drive-in on a certain night when a portion of the proceeds of ticket sales and concessions would be donated back to the group.

Another special offer is for church-goers to bring in a bulletin on Sunday night showing they attended church that day, and they receive a reduced rate of $3 per person for everyone in the vehicle.

Regular fall rates are $5 for adults, $4 for children ages 4-12 and free for children under age 4.

The admission price includes two films. There are two screens that show movies simultaneously.

The gate opens at 6 p.m., and the first pair of movies starts at 7 p.m. When the first movies are over, it takes about 10 minutes for the second pair to start.

Padgett said visitors are encouraged bring lawn chairs and arrive early to throw a football or Frisbee in open field at the drive-in.

The sound for the films is transmitted on-site, and visitors dial their radios to a certain station and the sound comes through their vehicle’s speakers.

To learn what movies are planned for upcoming weekends, visit Twilight280.com, call the hotline at 672-8484 or visit the “Twilight Drive In 280” Facebook page.