Midway Drive-in Theatre
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Hi friends! This is Little John writing with a VERY overdue update on the kickoff of our 2024 season. These gorgeous, warm, spring nights in CNY sure do have us eager to rejoin you for terrific movies, great fun, and making memories under the stars. Tentatively, we are shooting to reopen in mid-June. This opening date is a departure from our traditional first-weekend in May commencement of a new season. I'm very sorry for this. Our short, seasonal window necessitates that we reopen as soon as the weather and our lot conditions allow, to bring in enough revenue to cover annual expenses. And of course, everyone is excited to get outdoors and relax after a long winter. So I am extremely disheartened by this opening night postponement. If you have a few minutes, please allow me to provide you with some details on the reasons for this delay.

As you may know, the Midway Drive-In is an independent, family owned-and-operated, small business. My and my sister Heidi's parents began working at the Midway when it was just 13-years-old, in 1961. The Midway has been a break-even business, at best, for decades. Like nearly all drive-in theatre owners, it's a labor of love for us. No one is getting rich in the movie-going industry nowadays. In fact, several drive-in theatres nationwide have recently been forced to close permanently, taking the total number down to approximately 275 sites still operational in the world. Several factors over the past five years have intensified the challenges of our financial solvency, including but not limited to the pandemic, the dramatic rise in the streaming of new releases at home, mandatory technological investments, our aging facility with only one screen, increasing insurance costs, very steep film rental rates from the big studios, and most notably labor costs, which have risen by 50% since the passing of Big John in 2017. Our dad left us a timeless paradise that we are so incredibly grateful for, but he also left some debt. He didn't have life or accidental death insurance, and in the three years before his death he'd invested a total of around $200,000 into our digital projection system and a portion of the cost of our screen tower replacement. This depleted his personal savings.

Please understand that we are not crying poverty. My sister and I fully appreciate just how lucky we are. We got to grow up at a drive-in theatre. How cool is that?! And we are still open, thanks to the very generous, indispensable help of the matriarch of the Midway, our mom Judy. There are few things in life more heartbreaking to me than watching someone's dreams with a small business collapse, and we all know how frequently that happens.

Like nearly all drive-in theatre owners, we have full time jobs to supplement the business. Come late March, my full time job becomes the Midway. This year, just as I was getting to work on preparations for our 76th consecutive season, I began having increasingly-worsening abdominal pain. I've contended with diverticulitis flare-ups for about 25 years, and I thought I was just having one of my uncommon bad attacks that would get better with antibiotics. But I learned on April 5th that, due to my reckless postponing of my five-year colonoscopy appointment, my condition had become much more grave than I realized. I ended up spending a month in the hospital. The goal of my surgeon, the gifted Dr. Joseph Valentino, was to get my pain, inflammation, and infection under control through intense IV antibiotic treatment, to allow for safer, non-emergency surgery. However after losing 30 pounds with no improvement in my condition, the decision was made to proceed with what my surgeon described as "major, life-changing" semi-emergency surgery.

I've been home for a little more than a week now, after being discharged on May 8th. Yesterday I had my first post-surgical appointment at Upstate University Hospital, and Dr. Valentino was very pleased with my healing progress so far. The surgery was at the highest end of what he had predicted in terms of complexity, so I still have several risk factors for complications. I need to proceed at a measured pace. But I'm quite confident that by mid-June we should be able to open those gates at our community's magical little gathering place in Minetto, that has been beloved and supported by thousands of folks through multiple generations.

I have tried hard to fill my dad's big shoes. As general manager I have worked at the theatre every night since his untimely passing, seven years ago. But I've also made the huge mistake of being too possessive of several of our operational departments. One of my worst fears and faults has now been realized; having a medical emergency without adequately training anyone to fill my role. I can't apologize enough. Due to my careless neglecting of my health, the entire Midway Family, including patrons and staff, must now wait through this postponement that lies solely in my actions. I'm so very sorry.

However I am confident that we will be able to shift some gears and successfully get things up and running by mid-June. I wish I could be more exact, but I promise to keep you more accurately updated as the days go on.

I would be wildly remiss to not thank the entire staffs of both Oswego Health and Upstate University Health Systems. I've always deeply admired everyone who works tirelessly (and too often thanklessly) in healthcare and first-response. But man was I reminded of the level of devotion and tirelessness that all these folks commit, to keep us all as healthy as possible. I'm infinitely grateful for the top-shelf treatment I received from all, including custodial workers, lab technicians and researchers, doctors, nurses and nursing assistants, and everyone in between. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And I thank you so much for your patience, understanding, and support. As always... We can't wait to see YOU, here, at the Midway Drive-In Theatre!

2475 NYS Rt. 48 in Fulton NY 13069

Admission Prices

Adults (12 years and older): $9.00
Children (7 through 11 years): $4.00
Kids (6 & Under): FREE

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Pizza Drawing

Each night at intermission time we will draw a ticket stub from the
evenings  admissions, the winner will receive a large pizza with their
choice of toppings!

Starting Friday
June 14 - 16

Single Feature
Fri, Sat, Sun

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