Park Drive-In remains a popular destination near Lake Norden

Local News

LAKE NORDEN, S.D. (KELO) — The Park Drive-In near Lake Norden was established in the 1950’s and is currently owned by the Dragt family. A landmark along the lakes, the Park Drive-In is once again open for business.

Along the shores of Lake Norden sits The Park Drive-In, which is known for its ice cream.

“We have milk shakes and we have spillway splashes,” Park Drive-In owner Nanci Dragt said.

That combination of ice cream and toppings has been bringing customers back generation after generation.

“Families with lots of kids all the way up to the old folks because we’re an icon, it’s been around for so long that they remember their parents took them and their grandparents took them,” Dragt said.

The Dragt family bought the business nearly a decade ago.

“My husband has been in the dairy business his entire life and so we thought well, we’ll still be in the dairy business,” Dragt said.

The purchase allowed their kids to have jobs without making the 30-mile drive into Watertown.

“Not really knowing what we’re doing, but then throughout the years and learning every summer it’s just like a cool experience to see,” Blake Dragt said.

The Park Drive-In has experienced its share of mishaps. High wind caused a tree to fall on the building in 2013, while flooding cost the Dragt’s a majority of the summer season in 2019.

“It was so flooded around here that we had these humongous fish just going up and down all the time,” Dragt said.

This year, the Drive-In is open, but behind schedule due to COVID-19.

“We just take it one day at a time, do what we can, and keep going forward,” Dragt said.

And the Dragts are still discovering the popularity of the Park Drive-In.

“You’re in public and you’re like oh yeah my parents own the drive-in and they’re like oh yeah, we love that place,” Blake Dragt said.

Nanci Dragt says she has 15 employees this summer, but 13 are new and currently in training.

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