In 2021, southern Albertans have transitioned to somewhat of a sloth-like life. Some begrudgingly and some with open arms. The way we live has been transformed into an existence of at-home festivities for all ages, with limited options, for the time being — once again. Binge watching, binge drinking, binge nagging, binge this and binge that has taken over as many a day’s faithful companion and friend — like it or not.
This almost “Groundhog Day” existence or the notion every day is the exact same day, over and over and over again — has given southern Albertans a goal to switch it up and hopefully try new things or delve into the unknowns, safely, of course.
Hobbies, old loves and family favourites dusted off might just be what the doctor ordered, in response to “what the heck am I going to do today?” Finding a new passion or an exciting alternative to the norm might be right around the corner or in the cards. The familiar and traditional is often found to be the best medicine, like a comfort food, bevvie or fun activity. Fast food has been a cure for the blues, that’s for sure. When it is nice outside, barbecues and sun tanning on the deck or patio has also been favourable for many, now spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner, it is hoped.
One little piece of nostalgia, is the vintage, retro return and resurrection of the beloved drive-in. As of late, many businesses, organizations, municipalities and the like have turned to this tried but true method of entertaining the masses, safely — especially during these so-called “COVID times.”
Or families have purchased projectors to enlighten home viewing by projecting whatever it is they want to watch on the walls or out on a side of the house or on at-home screens. The desire to be entertained has always been a strong force to be reckoned with. With theatres being closed for a long period of time and live events such as concerts have been on hold — alternative options have been the go to, and with fanfare.
This summer could be the ultimate drive-in, at-home projector resurgence necessary to kickstart a revolution. There’s something about sitting under the stars, munching on a big bucket of popcorn, sipping an ice cold soda and viewing either a classic film or brand new blockbuster on a larger-than-life screen. With of course an adequate FM radio and stellar stereo system to compliment said experience. Or now, watch a made-just-for-the-big-screen concert feature, which is great news and hopefully a new trend. Don’t forget about the intermission cartoon, which is always like an old friend with the catchy tune, “Let’s all go to the lobby.”
What’s great about this new experience is locations are offering guests food trucks, vendors, merch tables and so on at select drive-ins and/or events. Of course, right now, these events need to follow AHS guidelines, regulations and restrictions for everyone’s health and safety. But, what a fabulous idea. Other provinces still have drive-ins in locations scattered throughout the countryside. Ontario and Saskatchewan have a few oldies but goodies still going strong. The Grey Eagle Event Centre in Calgary has recently turned into a drive-in experience for guests to check out actual live concerts, movies and other activities for the summer — which is a bit more local. And of course, Raymond features many top-notch concerts this summer and The Movie Mill in Lethbridge has recently announced their drive-in ambitions.
The times, they are a changing, but maybe not. Drive-ins have always been a cool and hip entertainment activity. Unfortunately, Canada isn’t the greatest place to have a year-round outdoor movie-going facility with the wind, rain, hail and snow. Especially in southern Alberta. So, if summer is all we’ve got, let’s support the return of the living drive-in. It’s something to do on a Friday night or long weekend and maybe, one day soon, it may once again become a piece of our southern Alberta culture.