McHenry drive-in theater reopens to line of cars

McHenry's drive-in theater was the place to be Friday night, and the theater reopened to a line of cars.

The theater was recently given the greenlight to reopen as long as certain rules are followed, and families took advantage -- while social distancing.

The first two movies to be shown were “The Flintstones” are then “Jurassic Park.”

“I'm probably gonna’ cry, I probably will. This has been a dream,” said owner of McHenry Outdoor Theater Scott Dehn.

Dehn has worked at the theater for 20 years and bought the property in February.

“I think when the ink dried was when the lockdown happened,” he said.

But he turned his fear into motivation to safely open during a pandemic, and as movie goers anxiously drove in, the admission’s staff had a surprise announcement.

Ray Scarpelli, owner of Ray Chevrolet and Ray Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, bought out the theater, so about 350 families could enjoy for free.

“I think everybody needs a little positive,” Scarpelli said.

To ensure social distancing, about half as many vehicles were allowed in. Patrons stayed in cars, masks were handed out and masks were mandatory for those laying in the back of their vehicle.

While concession stands were closed, snacks were available by carts.

“Just to see people smile, to be enjoying themselves one again, those times don’t happen as often as they used to,” Dehn said.

The theater is open Friday and Saturdays until Memorial Day weekend and in between, the owner says they will be hosting about eight drive-in graduation and recognition ceremonies.

In addition, starting May 23, the theater will be open seven days a week.