‘It’s a drive-in Saturday’

Ridgecrest Cinemas partners with Desert Valleys to host host free outdoor movie night

‘It’s a drive-in Saturday’By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

It’s been about 10 weeks now since COVID-19 has upended, well, *gestures to everything*. Once-everyday activities like going out to eat or a trip to the movies are all but nonexistent and have been replaced by Netflix and take-out.

But some things are making a comeback amid all of the chaos — some endangered species are bouncing back, clear skies are here again and a drive-in movie theater has popped up at Ridgecrest Cinemas.

This Saturday, the Cinemas, in partnership with Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union, will show a free screening of the classic ’80s adventure film “The Goonies” in the Ridgecrest Cinemas parking lot. Parking begins at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8:30.

“We are so excited to be able to offer a pop-up drive-in experience for our community,” said Cinemas General Manager Kelly Walden. She added that Desert Valleys made the event possible by offering financial support as well as providing the screen and FM transmitter.

Moviegoers can park their cars and use their FM stereos to tune into the movie’s audio. Parking could prove to be tricky as viewers are asked to keep their vehicles six feet apart while leaving aisles for traffic to come and go and respecting other businesses that share the lot like Ridgecrest Pizza Factory.

“We’re going to cone off the parking lot beforehand so people don’t start showing up at 3:00 p.m.,” said Walden. “We’ve spoken with Pizza Factory and we want to remind everybody to be respectful of the shared space.”

Viewers with large vehicles are asked to park near the back as to not block the view of those in smaller cars. Trucks can park so that viewers can watch from the truck bed, but otherwise people are not permitted to view the film from outside of their vehicles.

“For example, viewers will not be able to set up chairs next to their vehicle,” said Walden. “And per the recommendation from Kern County Public Health, only people who live in the same household should be in the same car.”

Concessions will be available for purchase — even refillable drinks and popcorn buckets — and everything will be in adherence with KCPH’s guidelines.

“Public safety has been our biggest hurdle, but Kern County Public Health has also been a big help in making this happen,” said Walden.

Customers can order food and drinks at the walk-window and pick them up at the door. Cash, credit and gift cards will all be accepted. Restrooms will also be available, but there will be a limit to how many people can be be in each restroom at any one time.

“We do anticipate more showings in the future until we can welcome you all safely back into the building per state and county orders,” said Walden.

Just down the street, Immanuel Baptist Church held its first drive-in movie night at its Ministry Center on China Lake Boulevard last Friday, where dozens of cars showed up to watch “Tangled.”

“We don’t have another date in mind yet, but we will be doing it again.” said IBC Pastor Bill Logan. “And it is open to the public.”

For more information on these events, visit the Ridgecrest Cinemas and Immanuel Baptist Ridgecrest Facebook pages.

Pictured: Ridgecrest Cinemas will be projecting the 1980s cult classic adventure-comedy “The Goonies” in the theater parking lot on Saturday.

Story First Published: 2020-05-22