UPDATE: Star-Vu, Pageant Drive-Ins In National Contest To Win Digital Projector

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email
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UPDATE: September, 15, 2013

Two area drive-in movie theaters in need of expensive equipment to stay open came up short in their efforts to win a digital projector from Honda.

But they have another shot.

Honda has announced it will choose four more drive-in theaters to receive a digital projector from the company. They've extended voting to September 21st.

The first five winners were announced over the past five days. The winners were Saco Drive-In (Saco, Maine), Cherry Bowl Drive-In (Honor, Michigan), Graham Drive-In (Graham, Texas), McHenry Outdoor Theater (McHenry, Illinois), and 99W Drive-In (Newberg, Oregon).

El Dorado's Star-Vu Drive-In and Medicine Lodge's Pageant Drive-In are both still in the running now that Honda has announced four more digital projectors will be donated.

You have six days to vote. Each day, you can vote once online at projectdrivein.com and once via text.

Please scroll down to the end of this story for voting information.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Two area drive-in movie theaters are in the running to win a $75,000 digital projector that could allow them to stay open as the transition is made away from 35mm film.

It's part of Honda's Project Drive-In contest, an effort by the car manufacturer to try to save as many drive-ins as possible. The contest is a nationwide vote with the top 5 vote-getting theaters winning a digital projector.

You can vote twice a day, once online and once via text.

The two area theaters that are up for the national digital projector giveaway are the Star-Vu in El Dorado and the Pageant in Medicine Lodge.

Read about both below. There you'll find all the links and telephone numbers you'll need to vote!

Star-Vu Drive-In (El Dorado)

Armed with posters and flyers, Amanda Baker walked door-to-door Thursday, canvassing downtown El Dorado.

Baker campaigned -- not for herself but for her passion: saving the Star-Vu Drive-In.

"It would give everybody a place to go," Baker said. "It would give us our landmark back."

Baker has helped the Star-Vu Drive-In secure a spot on an important ballot.

Honda is hosting a nationwide vote to see which five drive-in theaters across the country will receive a new $75,000 digital projector from the company.

The Star-Vu is one of just three drive-ins in Kansas that are part of the contest. The Pageant Drive-In in Medicine Lodge is the other area participant. The third is the Mid-Way Drive-In in Osawatomie.

The voting began August 9th and continues through September 9th. People can vote twice a day. One vote per day can be cast online and the other vote can be cast via text message.

"It's pretty incredible to think that a company like Honda would be doing something like that," El Dorado's Corey Landreth said.

It's part of Honda's campaign to save as many drive-ins as possible. Many of the nation's drive-ins are in danger of closing this year. That's because 35mm film distribution is over and it's too costly for many theaters to switch to digital projection.

The Star-Vu is one of those theaters that is in danger.

"If we don't get go digital, we won't be open next year," Baker said.

Being selected for Honda's "Project Drive-In" contest couldn't have come at a better time.

Baker formed a committee earlier this year to raise money to save the Star-Vu. But their fundraising efforts have been slow-going. To date, they've raised only $2,000 toward the $90,000 needed to keep the Star-Vu open.

"(Winning) would cut our fundraising by three-quarters," Baker said.

Baker said she first heard about the opportunity when she received a message on the Star-Vu's Facebook page.

"They just said, 'If you are in trouble, just contact us.' I sent in all of our information," Baker said.

Soon, she received posters, flyers, buttons, and other materials to help get the word out and encourage people to vote.

"This is our last ditch opportunity to keep our beloved Star-Vu Drive-In open and operating," Baker said.

So, she says, this is much more important than winning a campaign, it's may be their last chance at winning a future.

"It would mean the world to El Dorado and the surrounding communities," Baker said.

Pageant Drive-In (Medicine Lodge)

One more weekend under the stars.

One more weekend of movies for the season.

But after 19 consecutive years in operation and 61 years total of history, the Pageant Drive-In in Medicine Lodge could be showing its final movies ever this weekend.

That's because this small-town drive-in theater just doesn't have the money for the expensive digital projector it needs to survive past the death of film.

"It's not looking too good," owner Mike Sill said. "(Without it) we would probably have to close the gates up and not get to show any more movies."

But in Medicine Lodge, it's not just about saving the theater, it's about saving the town.

"We're just a small community trying to survive," Sill said.

Sill and other community members helped get the Pageant Drive-In in position for a shot to win a new digital projector.

Honda is hosting a nationwide vote to see which five drive-in theaters across the country will receive a new $75,000 digital projector from the company.

"It would let us keep entertainment going for our community and the surrounding area," Sill said. "We're the only drive-in in that part of the state."

The voting began August 9th and continues through September 9th. People can vote twice a day. One vote per day can be cast online and the other vote can be cast via text message.

Sill says the community has rallied around the cause.

"They've really gotten behind it," Sill said. "A lot are voting and then they are commenting on Facebook that they voted."

The drive-in first opened in 1952. Mike Sill's parents bought the theater in 1968. The theater remained open until the late 1980's, when thousands of drive-ins went dark. For seven years, the Pageant sat closed until Mike and his wife Amy revived it in 1995.

With that much history, Sill wants to make sure it has an equally long future.

"It's a good place for people to go out and meet and good family entertainment," Sill said.

Voting Information:

To vote for El Dorado's Star-Vu, You can vote at http://www.projectdrivein.com/vote_36e or text "vote36" to 444-999.

To vote for Medicine Lodge's Pageant Drive-In you can vote at http://www.projectdrivein.com/vote_93 or text "vote93" to 444-999.


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