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Have you heard about the new Frederick drive-in movie location?
I’ve wished for a drive-in movie theater resurgence for years and, while it stinks that it took a global pandemic to bring one about, I personally hope it’s here to stay forever and ever.
The drive-in has always held a special place in my heart thanks to countless memories attending the one in our town where I grew up in California and I’ve longed to take my boys to one for years. With the closest location being Bengi’s in Baltimore, the idea that I’d ever be able to cross this one off my family bucket list was pretty slim (Baltimore is pretty far to travel home from at midnight with a car full of kids!). But, thanks to some creative, enterprising people in my hometown, the Frederick drive-in is officially a thing!
Slated to run just through October when winter weather starts to make the idea of a drive-in a little less enticing on the east coast, the Frederick drive-in is being hosted by the Great Frederick Fair so there is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the big screen under the stars (or during the day if you choose a matinee showing).
If you’d like to take advantage of the new Frederick drive-in experience, here are a few pro-tips to help you make the most of your adventure.
10 Things to Know Before You Go to The Frederick Drive-In Movie
Splurge on the premium tickets.
Premium tickets come with a slightly heftier price tag ($10 more), but they are, in my opinion, well worth it. The extra fee gets you a parking slot right close to the front of the screen and, unlike an indoor theater where the front row is usually the last place you want to be, at the Frederick drive-in the screen looks better when you’re up close.
Don’t worry if they’re sold out though, you can truthfully see the screen from anywhere they park you, it’s just a better viewing experience if you get to be up front.
Get there early.
Rather you decide to upgrade to premium or not, I encourage you to arrive early to the fairgrounds to get optimal parking.
We had tickets for the Saturday evening showing and the gates open two hours prior to show time.
We decided to split the difference and showed up an hour early for our show. Fortunately, we were able to get pretty sweet seats in the “tailgating” section (where they park the pickup trucks so you can sit in the truck bed without obstructing the view of others), but a lot of the front row spaces for SUVS and cars were already taken.
If you didn’t buy premium tickets, getting there early can make you almost feel like you did.
They park visitors on a first come, first parked basis so they fill the lot from front to back. If you come early, you’ll get the very front of the back parking, making your view that much more spectacular.
Invest in a portable radio.
If you’re like me and you know there’s an app for everything these days, you may think to Google “drive-in movie app” before heading out to the show.
I found a lot of sites that said you could easily listen to a drive-in movie via a radio app. (Lies. All of them. At least when it comes to the Frederick drive-in movie.)
You really will want to invest in a portable radio like this one. It’s pretty affordable and will allow you to easily tune into the station they play the movie sound over without draining your battery by running your car radio all night.
FYI: If you do kill your battery while you’re there, don’t panic. Find an attendant at show and let them know. They’re prepared to lend a hand (we watched them jump three cars when it was time to go)
Bring your lawn chairs.
The cool thing about this location is that there is plenty of space and you’re allowed to sit outside of your vehicle as long as you stay in your area.
If you have a pickup truck and want to tailgate (sit in your truck bed), they have a special area for you to park, but otherwise you can bring your Prius or your minivan or whatever you drive and pop up the chairs in front of the vehicle for better viewing for all.
The portable radio is really a must for people sitting outside of their cars!
It’s a great place to social distance with friends.
If you come in separate vehicles, let the attendants know you’d like to be parked alongside each other (make sure you both buy the same ticket type). The attendants are AMAZING – so nice and fun and really interested in making sure everyone has a great time – so they’re happy to help.
Then you can set up outside of your car and they can do the same and it’s like you’re at an outdoor movie with your friends in the good old days!
They have a host of vendors on-site to provide everything you may want – dinner, traditional movie going treats and carnival type fare (yes, I’m talking about funnel cakes!) were available. They also have a beer tent hosted by a local brewery each night.
Just be prepared to pay for the food handsomely.
It’s cool if you bring your own food.
The awesome thing about the Frederick drive-in is that they do make it easy for families to enjoy. If you can’t afford to go hard at the concession stand, don’t worry! You’re more than welcome to bring in your own food.
Buying from the on-site concessions is a great way to support local businesses (I loved what I got from Roasthouse Pub) though, so if it’s not in your budget to drop $30 on food (I spent $15 on my meal, $8 on popcorn, and $4 on a funnel cake, and I only had one of my children with me), maybe think about just making room for a treat – yes, we are talking about the funnel cake again!
Don’t forget your masks.
Masks are required when walking around the drive-in area and while purchasing items from the vendors.
I didn’t see a single maskless person for the five hours I was at the drive-in and I’m proud of Frederick for making sure this event stays open and safe for all patrons.
Don’t feel obligated to watch both movies on double feature showings.
Of course your parking may not be top notch for viewing if you only come for the second feature on double feature nights, many people decided to head home after the first movie (which also freed up some spaces) and several others arrived in between the shows.
There is about a 15 – 20 minute intermission where they move vehicles in and out so you don’t even have to feel bad for disrupting the show.
Want to get tickets to next weekend’s show? Follow the link here: TGP Movie Nights
Be sure to support local businesses like the sponsors of the Frederick drive-in: Troyce Gatewood & Partners, Showtime Sound LLC, Maryland Sunrooms, Maryland Road Trips, WFMD, 99.9 WFRE, Equity United Mortgage, Legacy House Title, Geico Frederick, Autoflex Entertainment, Special Tees, Rehab2Perform, Crafted Crane Design, Beckley’s RVs, Shockley Honda, McCutcheon’s Apple Products, Blessings in a Backpack, Newbridge Spine & Pain, Limitless Paving & Concrete, Let There Be Rock, Temp Power, Concert Shop