Drive-in now back in Bakersfield

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Drive-in now back in Bakersfield

Elka Wyatt

Elka Wyatt

Elka Wyatt

Sam Lynn Ballpark houses a 40-foot movie screen for the summer. The screen was provided by Cinertain Drive-In which is owned and operated by two BC students.

Elka Wyatt, Reporter

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Bakersfield finally has a drive-in movie theater again. Cinertain Drive-In has found a home for the summer with the Bakersfield Blaze at Sam Lynn Ballpark. If the summer is successful, more movies may be scheduled throughout the rest of the year.

Cinertain Drive-In was created by two former Bakersfield College students, Jason and Seggan Sanders, who were inspired by the fun they had in the past at the drive-in.

“The idea just kind of sparked for us, kind of like, why can’t we bring this back? We felt like we had a community that was asking for it and we knew that the city was not going to fund one. So for us, it was a moment that we felt was our chance to take it,” said Seggan Sanders.

Bakersfield used to be home to five drive-ins: 99 Drive-In, So. Chester Drive-In, Terrace-Drive-In, Edison Drive-In (which later became DeAnza Drive-In), and The Crest Drive-In. Most were opened around the 50s and were closed in the 80s, with the exception of the Crest who hung in there until 1999.

According to Drive-Ins.com, out of 273 California drive-ins only 17 are in operation. Most have been torn down.

Saturday night, Apr. 18, Cinertain Drive-in hosted their first double feature at the ballpark. The Incredibles and The Avengers were the featured movies. Guests were encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero.

“I just want you to know that I am the real Superman,” said Matthew George, 12, who was in the bed of a pickup truck with Ethan Francois, 7, and Lucas George, 2, all dressed as Superman.

Aaron Kitchen, 43, was dressed as The Incredible Hulk.

Julia McKay, 45, said, “I am glad the community has welcomed Cinertain. I hope it will stick around and become permanent.”

Mike Taylor, 53, brought his nine year-old son who had never been to a drive-in before. Taylor remembers going to the drive-in about 20 years ago.

“I hope they find a permanent place,” said Taylor.

Celina Martinez said that she used to go to the drive-in in Porterville before it closed down.

They have a 40-foot screen; a projector just like the ones used in movie theaters, and the sound comes through the radio with their FM transmitter.

Sanders said that they had a count of 142 cars, which she estimated about 450 people.

“When we originally began last year, we thought that because there were so many people behind the idea of bringing back a drive-in that we would have a successful Crowdfunding campaign. We were very wrong about that!” Sanders continued, “Even though there was so much talk and support behind the nostalgic drive-in, we did not raise anything from that campaign. It was a little discouraging, seeing how we thought there were so many people that were excited about a drive-in and talking about how they drive hours away just to enjoy a drive-in or so they can show their kids what a drive-in is about but no one was willing to help us out, monetarily. After that campaign, we realized that it was definitely up to us. We took out loans, maxed out credit cards to show Bakersfield that we are serious and we would be bringing back the drive-in. We had a few rough months, trying to bring in business and learn how this was going to work, but we stuck at it because we knew that we had something great and we couldn’t give up just yet.”

Their most recent Indiegogo campaign was a huge success. The original goal was $2,500.

“The community crushed that goal and by the end of the two weeks, we had raised $3,590!” said Sanders.

All of the money raised from the Indiegogo campaign is going directly toward their summer with the Bakersfield Blaze at Sam Lynn Ballpark.

“It is all going back into making the drive-in experience better for our movie-goers,” Sanders said.

Cinertain Drive-in had what they called a “soft opening” on Apr. 4. The movie featured was The Goonies. They had over 100 cars. Sanders said that they were shocked and thrilled that they really do have the community’s support. They anticipate this season to be extremely successful.

“My vision for Cinertain is to put on great shows, make the community proud that they helped bring back the drive-in to Bakersfield and just have fun.”

As of right now, there are no plans to build a permanent drive-in.

“A lot of the land that is for sale or for lease in town are either regulated or they are not zoned correctly for what we need. It could be a costly expense for us to purchase land or lease land, which could cause an increase in prices for what we currently offer and we aren’t looking down that path right now. We are focused on spending the summer at the Blaze and possibly expanding for the rest of the year with them if all goes well this season,” said Sanders.

Prices are $20 per carload. Sanders said to fit as many people in your car, legally, of course. Season passes are available. The concessions trailer is out at each of their events. They sell items like nachos, candy, drinks, pickles, popcorn and other snacks. They offer any college student a ten percent discount at the concession stand with their school ID.

Each event night features an opportunity table. Moviegoers can buy a ticket for a dollar to enter to win a prize from that night.

“Basically we aren’t looking to make a bunch of money from it. We have so much fun putting on these event nights and so we decided that the money we get from the business would be put right back into it. We are currently in the process of changing from an LLC (Limited Liability Company) to a non-profit company.” Said Sanders.

Cinertain Drive-in will host another double feature That Thing You Do and Wayne’s World on May 16, 7:50 p.m. at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Gates open an hour before the first movie starts.

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