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There is something nostalgic about the drive-in, not necessarily reminiscent of my childhood but of Americana’s childhood.  It is a right of passage that had almost fallen to the wayside as theaters with comfy seats, sound effects, and 3-D movies enticed us, but drive-ins seem to be experiencing a resurgence.  I didn’t have to google that information; I saw it firsthand when we met up with some friends at the Fair Oaks Drive-In on Saturday night.

My four-year-old, Madison, has been intrigued and slightly obsessed with airplanes for as long as I can remember.  For her third birthday party, she asked for a plane theme.  She wore her little captain’s uniform, played pin the propeller on the plane, and handed out little suitcases packed with captain’s wings and those little bags of pretzels they give you when flying.  So, we could not wait for Disney’s Planes to come out this past weekend, and we decided on the drive-in for our venue.

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The drive-in requires a little more work and planning than your average Saturday night at the theater.  It’s wise to get there a little early so downtime before the movie has to be prepared for, seating has to be accounted for whether inside or outside of the car, and layers of clothing packed for when the night turns cool.  As I prepped for the night, I began to think it was a lot of work for very little return, but then I watched my daughter through out the evening having the time of her life.  What I thought was a small gesture, seemed truly quite grand in her eyes.  On our way home I asked her what her favorite part of the night was, and she exclaimed, “everything!” And then it was totally worth it.

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We had asked a few friends along, and we all met up down the road at Blueberry Mountain for some homemade ice cream.  Then, about an hour before dusk and the start of the movie, we caravaned over to the drive-in and parked side-by-side.  Our friend, Megan, set up the back of her car with blankets and pillows and the kids thought it was fun to snuggle up together.  While we waited for the movie to start, Madison and her friends ran around playing ball and tag.  Once the movie began, the kids played musical chairs until they found a comfortable spot and the first promptly fell asleep soon after.  She was followed by three more leaving Madison the sole survivor of slumber.  After the movie, we packed up and drove home to put our tired girl to bed.

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There are a few drive-ins in our area but Fair Oaks is the closest to us.  The movie begins at dusk, which in July can be as late as after 9 while in August is a more reasonable 8:30.  We arrived around 7:30 which was perfect as the line was just starting to get long and the best spots beginning to fill up.  Fair Oaks offers two movies for the price of one, so if you’re lucky enough to have kids that will sleep through it, stay for the double feature.  The drive-in may not be as convenient as the theater, but it is a memory your kids will cherish.

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