MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) – It may be hard to imagine going to see a movie right due to the pandemic.
That’s why theatre owners in Mitchell are bringing back an old tradition.

“This is a day we weren’t sure was ever going to come.”

Seven years ago, the Starlite Drive-In Movie Theatre screen went blank, but now it’s going to start showing movies again in response to COVID-19.

“With circumstances being what they are with social distancing and the pandemic that we’re in, we felt that opening the Starlite was really the safest move to give people in our community and the surrounding area a place to get out and be together but still have that social distance where we can stay safe,” vice president of Logan Luxury Theatres Jennifer Gades said.

The drive-in theatre stopped showing movies because the attendance numbers didn’t support the cost of the current digital world of movies. However, Gades is hopeful that will change.

“We hope now with re-opening that the community really supports it and comes out in numbers so that hopefully we can keep it going. For this season, for sure, it’s the best option, and then we’ll just reevaluate at the end of the year and see if it’s something we can maintain long-term,” Gades said.

The Starlite is owned by the same people who own the indoor Logan Luxury Theatres in Mitchell. Employees Lily Hoffman and Amy Uher say coming to the drive-in used to be a fun family outing.

“I came here a lot with my family so I have a lot of old memories, pictures from the drive-in,” Uher said.

“My mom used to work at the drive-in, so we used to come every summer. It was like a family thing, so we’re super excited that it’s re-opening,” Hoffman said.

The hope is for the drive-in to be open again May 8th, but that could still change.