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Redwood Bark

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Drive up to the Lark Theater’s drive-in

“The vibe is to bring as many people as you can fit into the car and come out here and enjoy the evening and the movies,” Lopez said.

In the parking lot across from The Village Mall, the Lark Theater’s drive-in presents a great way to wind down for the evening. On weekends from Sept. 8-Nov. 11, vehicles file into the parking lot, with attendees prepared to tailgate and watch movies with family and friends. Movies designed for all ages are projected onto the massive screen as the concession stand supplies guests with refreshments and snacks. 

The drive-in made its first appearance at the beginning of the pandemic, as the Lark Theater first implemented it as an alternative to in-person movies. However, the drive-in is open for only a few months out of the year. The current house manager, David Lopez, began working at the Lark Theater in August 2019 and now manages the drive-in.

“I was here when the pandemic hit. We had to close down the theater, so we had a brainstorming session. We decided to start a drive-in and while it was a lot of work, we’ve grown and have [many people] working with us,” Lopez said.

Since its opening, the drive-in has gained lots of popularity. The ages of attendees range from young elementary grades all the way to high school students. Lopez spoke about the impact drive-in movies have had on today’s youth, especially in Marin County.

“This is something new, especially to high school students. There isn’t a drive-in [that is satisfactory] in this county. It’s great young people can get a chance to experience it and I’m glad to be a part of [its production],” Lopez said. 

Zara Pavelka, Riley Ericksen and Sam Schaeffer, students from Redwood, Branson and Marin Catholic, attended the drive-in showing of “The Devil Wears Prada,” in a van set up with a mattress, snacks, blankets and more, the perfect environment for enjoying the event. While they prefer going to traditional theaters for new movies, they enjoyed the unique experience the drive-in provided.

“[The drive-in provides] a fun aesthetic, especially if you have the kind of setup that we had,” Ericksen said. 

Ollie Mulholland, a student at Archie Williams, works at the Lark Theater and agrees that the drive-in brings a special atmosphere.

Zara Pavelka, Riley Ericksen and Sam Schaeffer from Redwood, Branson and Marin Catholic spend quality time together while relaxing in a van.

 

“I think the regular theater is always going to be more popular just because of tradition, but the drive-in has a nice vibe to it, especially with [it being under] the stars,” Mulholland said. 

Those familiar with the drive-in have had a positive impression of their experiences. However, there may not be a drive-in next year due to a lack of attendance.

“[The drive-in will stay open] as long as it is profitable. That’s [the] question right now. We have to find out whether or not it makes sense to go another year. It doesn’t look that way because everything’s open [now]; people have so many other options,” Lopez said. 

Besides the Lark Theater, no other drive-in options exist near Marin County. There are, however, planned drive-in dates through Nov. 11. The film “Monsters University” will be shown next on Oct. 28 and you can purchase tickets on their website

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About the Contributor
Emily Garcia
Emily Garcia, News Editor
Emily Garcia is a junior at Redwood High School and is a news editor for the Redwood Bark. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with friends and family.