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Two Dover-Foxcroft nonprofits that have been closed since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic — the Center Theatre and Piscataquis County Ice Arena — are bringing drive-in movies to the Piscataquis County seat beginning this Friday and Saturday with the showing of the 2019 film “Wonder Woman.”
The movies will be shown in the ice arena parking lot, where state guidelines for spacing will allow for approximately 40 vehicles, according to PICA director of operations Matt Spooner.
“I had talked about throwing movies off the back of the building way before COVID came along because we have a nice lawn out back so we could have had movies there, but that morphed into the drive-in we’re having here,” said Spooner on Thursday, as he and other staff members from both organizations were preparing to hang a 20-by-30-foot screen from the top of the arena.
“With the COVID-19 guidelines that need to be followed, the spacing, and [since at] drive-ins right now they’re telling you to stay in your vehicles for the most part, those were the main reasons it made sense to be out front.”
The schedule is for movies to be shown for four weeks, but that could be extended..
Other movies on the Dover-Foxcroft drive-in docket are “The Goonies” on Thursday, June 25, and Friday, June 26; “Jaws” on Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3; “Forrest Gump” on Saturday, July 4, and Thursday, July 9, and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11. All shows are set to start at 9 p.m.
“Because of the way this drive-in is set up, we can’t get new movies coming out,” Center Theatre executive director Patrick Myers said. “So we were just thinking about older movies that are a lot of fun. When you think about a drive-in you think about the big blockbusters like ‘Jaws,’ like ‘Wonder Woman,’ and movies that are going to appeal to a wide range of people — movies that kids and parents can all come to and enjoy.”
The ice arena parking lot will be divided into three sections with open spaces between each vehicle space. Tickets for the front row of the parking lot will be $20 per vehicle, with middle-row tickets $15 each and back-row tickets $10 per vehicle.
Because of limited space, people interested in going to the drive-in are encouraged to order tickets in advance at centertheatre.org. Concessions also may be pre-ordered through the website and picked up upon arrival.
Arriving customers will enter the parking lot from the east entrance closer to Hibbard’s Skilled Nursing Center and Main Street West and drive to the concessions table to pick up pre-ordered items before being directed to their rows by parking attendants.
At that point they will be given a radio station frequency to tune into for the movie audio.
“The movies are going to benefit the ice arena and the Center Theatre, but frankly we’re more into it just to give the community something fun to do, something to look forward to,” Myers said. “Everybody’s been shut in for so long that it’s good to just have something new, something different, something to get people in town excited about.”