SPARKS, NV - The El Rancho Drive-In Theater kicked off its season by hosting a free movie night on Thursday. Cars lined up to be among the first let in the gates.
“We’ve experienced an increase in attendance every time we’ve held one of these events,” theater assistant manager Zach Greenhill said. “This night is looking even better than events we’ve held in the past so I think this is really good, we’re starting to come back.”
There was plenty of family-friendly entertainment on hand before the double feature: face painting, a mechanical bull, BMX demonstrations and live music.
“It’s really fun here,” moviegoer Marlisha Gregory said. “I brought my little cousins just to have a family night; we all wanted to see Journey 2.”
Racing enthusiasts were also on hand to celebrate the start of racing season.
“We’ll be out in Fallon in June actually racing against a jet car,” said Ricky Ruiz of Rattler Racing. He brought his car to the drive-in for fans to take a look at. “It’ll go 250 miles an hour in the quarter-mile,” Ruiz said.
Ten-year-old Tatum Ruiz drives a smaller version of the car.
“It’ll go almost 70 miles an hour in 11 seconds,” the fourth-grader said. “Driving it just comes naturally.”
The El Rancho has been in business since the 1950’s but there have been a lot of upgrades in recent years.
“A lot has changed, we’ve completely revamped our snack bar, we have a completely new sound system plus we’re getting new digital projection here very soon, it’s amazing projection quality,” Greenhill said. He says they hope to have that installed some time this season.
Drive-in movie attendance is up by double digits again this year and value seems to be one of the major reasons. Kids ages 5-11 get in for just $1 and children under 5 are free.
“Plus, you get a double feature each night,” said Patrick LaCava, VP of the company that owns El Rancho. “Instead of going to just one movie at the indoor theaters, a family of four can see two first-run movies for just $13.00”