The Pleasant Valley Drive-In.
The Pleasant Valley Drive-In.
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BARKHAMSTED — Residents from the Northwest Corner chipped in to help out the Pleasant Valley Drive-In, one of the three last remaining drive-in movie theaters in the state.
On Thursday, April 16, owner Donna McGrane set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise funds to replace the roof of the theater’s concession stand.
According to McGrane, all of the buildings on the property are from 1947 when the drive-in was originally opened, except for the ticket booth.
“The concession stand has never been replaced because, if it was replaced, it wouldn’t be grandfathered [for town zoning] if I replaced the whole building,” McGrane said. “We kind of just patched up the building as we went along through the years.”
The drive-in is only open five months during the year, including late spring, summer, and early fall.
“When I visited the drive-in property this spring, I had water all inside the concession stand and the roof is sagging on the inside,” McGrane said. “There is no way I could have opened up and operated the drive-in with the condition of the concession stand.”
For her GoFundMe fundraiser, McGrane, who has owned the Drive-in for 25 years, set a goal of $7,600.
In 24 hours, she raised $21,835 from 290 donors.
“Holy cow,” McGrane said about the generous donations that came within a short time. “I am just flabbergasted and I don’t even believe it. I’m amazed.”
She said that she will use the extra funds from the fundraiser to pay off the previous purchase of the drive-in’s digital projector.
McGrane said that six years ago she had to purchase the digital projector, which cost $80,000, to continue to show movies.
“The movie companies stopped making reel to reel films,” she said. “They forced us to get a digital projector which no bank wanted to give me a loan for. I certainly could not afford it. Previously, we held a fundraiser and raised $21,000. I was able to put a deposit down on the digital projector and they leased it to me. It’s just about paid off and I would like to get it free and clear.”
As for when the drive-in will open again, McGrane said that she is hopeful that she will open on Friday, April 24.
“But that might be a little unrealistic,” she said. “If not, it will positively be open on Friday, May 1. I already have my movies booked [“Trolls World Tour” and “The Invisible Man”]. It’s just a matter of getting this roof on the concession stand and getting the kitchen ready. I want to thank all of the donors from the bottom of my heart.”

For more information about the Pleasant Valley Drive-In go to www.pleasantvalleydriveinmovies.com

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