PUEBLO — Popcorn is ready to be popped, and soda is ready to be poured at Mesa Drive-In Pueblo. The popular drive-in move theater was shut down during the pandemic, but owners are re-opening doors to the public Friday evening.
The owners found out last week from the Pueblo City County Health Department that they could re-open, and the community is already showing support and their excitement.
"Now that we've heard that they're opening, we just can't wait to get back to it," said Sonny Gonzalez, who grew up in the neighborhood next door to the drive-in. "I've remembered it, for forever.
All of my friends, when we were kids, we used to go with our parents. We've carried on the tradition almost every year now."
The Mesa Drive-In was built in 1951, but last year was the first season the drive-in was closed because of COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic.
"2020 was kind of a bummer," said Chuck James, the threatre's owner since 1994. "But I feel pretty comfortable in saying it'll sell out tonight."
The drive-in is the only one in Southern Colorado, so the owners are also expecting a big turnout for their first weekend back open. Around 700 cars can fit in the drive-in's parking lot.
With the unofficial start to summer and Memorial Day weekend here, the Pueblo community is excited for movies to be shown on the big screen once again.
"That signals that it's open and its time to go, so it's a great seasonal thing, and we're just happy about it," said Gonzalez. "This is definitely a main stay for us that live in Pueblo. The theatre has always been there for us, and I'm excited to get out there."
"I think people are really eager to get out and the drive-in has always been well supported in Pueblo. Pueblo takes care of this place," said James. "It was a short, quick process to get up and running, but it's exciting."
James also said the last movie played at the drive-in was in September 2019, and while he's excited to re-open he says new movies this summer may be limited because they weren't being filmed during the pandemic.
The drive-in is only showing movies on two out of the three screens, and the third screen's parking lot will be used for additional customers.
The drive-in opens to the public at 6 p.m. on Friday evening, so find yourself a spot and get comfy around that hour. New movies will be played on two different screens, as soon as the sun goes down.
The movies playing are:
Screen 1: Quiet Place 2 PG-13 with World War Z PG-13
Screen 2: Cruella PG-13 with Raya and The Last Dragon PG