Watching a Movie During a Pandemic

Watching a Movie During a Pandemic

Looking for something to do on the weekends to relax and unwind from a hectic week? Look no further than The Drive at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. A short 10-minute drive from campus, the fairgrounds drive-in movie series has something for everyone. From Star Wars to Moana to Harry Potter, the vast range of genres is accommodating for all tastes. To make it even more fun, show up an hour before the start and pack a picnic while watching the sun go down behind the huge movie screen.

The drive-in experience starts with purchasing a ticket online to your showing of choice — for me that was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which had the perfect fall vibes and bonus points for the angsty plot. Before the movie we drove to a nearby grocery store to stock up on all the necessities; popcorn, cookies and sushi (hear me out, Harris Teeter has surprisingly good sushi).

When we got to the fairgrounds an attendant scanned the tickets of each person in the car and directed us to a spot. To get a good viewing spot it is best to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Another piece of advice, bring either a thick blanket (the gravel can dig) or a folding chair if you are not sitting in the back of your car. One of our favorite parts of the experience was setting up our picnic before the movie. A perfect opportunity to get some cute pictures with friends and enjoy hanging out. The highlight of the drive-in for me was being able to talk to friends while the movie is going on, a situation wherein normal theaters you would be met with harsh glares and shushes, but at the drive-in, the atmosphere is much more relaxed and casual. Especially by being far away from the other cars, it almost feels like a personal viewing experience.

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The theater screen and parking spaces are located at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, only a 10-minute drive from campus, and set up right behind the LJVM Coliseum. Rothfield and friends pose in front of the screen before Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban began. The Drive has a whole slate of spooky films in store for Halloween season (Maddy Rothfield / Old Gold & Black)

To access the audio for the movie, all the cars tune into the fairground’s radio station. The result is a type of echo of audio as it waves through the field but once you set your mind to only focusing on the sound coming from your own car it’s not an issue. The screen itself is large enough that it is not difficult to see, and the color is great.

Looking forward to the next few weeks, the drive-in will be screening Halloween classics such as Hocus Pocus, Halloween and Don’t Breathe. My suggestion? Stop by Trader Joes for some pumpkin and fall-themed snacks and make it into a picturesque, Pinterest worthy fall night. Now that the weather is getting chilly (for North Carolina that is), put on your coziest knit sweater and pack plenty of blankets.

Overall the drive-in movie experience is a fun way to spend a Friday or Saturday night and is reminiscent of what you would imagine the heyday of the 1950s drive-in to be like. In a world so oversaturated by digital technology, it is reinvigorating and exciting to experience a more analog type of entertainment. The drive-in is a surprising and innovative way to allow people to enjoy going to the movies and stay safe at the same time. And with how fun it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to grow in popularity years into the future.

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