Wichita's Starlite Drive-In reopens

"I'm so excited!” said Hadley White.  

When 10-year-old Hadley White heard the Starlite drive-in was reopening, she was over the moon.

"Every experience I've been here is like a one in a lifetime experience,” said Hadley. “It feels like the best time to be alive."

Hadley's been coming to the drive-in since she was a baby. She and her mother were part of a community-wide effort to keep the drive-in open, attending rallies and city council meetings. 

"She was like, ‘Mom we have to do something,’ so this is her thing,” said her mother.

That community effort paid off. Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate the reopening of the theater. They say they're thankful to be a part of a community that stepped up to persevere a piece of the city's history.

"It's just a cool thing to unite different generations, so yea, I love it,” said moviegoer Chante Newberry.

William Schrek said, "We're here on the first night. We're very excited.” His wife Cathy added,” We're glad.”

William went on to say, “Used to come here with the kids, then it was closed down. We were scared it was closed forever and then they said it was open and we were like, ‘We have to come back tonight.’"

The drive-in has been in Wichita since 1953.

It closed last year and was put up for sale, but thanks to its new owner Blake Smith and a $200,000 loan approved by city council, it was brought back to life with new digital projectors and better sound.

"When they said it was reopening I was really excited,” said Brianna Smith. “It feels really special because it feels like we're all coming out here as a family to just watching a movie."