Historic Ruskin Drive-In Damaged, But Not Out
Hurricane Ian huffed and puffed, but failed to bring down the drive-in screen. although some damage occurred, it will be fixed and there will be movies this weekend.
Living in Apollo Beach, I drive by the Ruskin Drive-In theater often. Seeing the huge screen being held up by dozens of telephone-pole-sized supports takes me back to my childhood, when my mom would fill an entire Kroger grocery bag with popcorn and mix up a gallon of Kool-Aid for all four of us kids to enjoy. Mom spread out blankets across the back of the station wagon along with a few pillows. Like clockwork, we all fell asleep as my parents cuddled in the front seat. My parents are still together, and the Ruskin theater is still together, too…kinda.
The Ruskin Family Drive-In Theatre sustained a little over $10,000 in damages from Ian, which means it will be closed for clean-up and repair all week. But, against all odds, the owners say they will reopen on Friday. The most obvious sign that Ian visited is the hole in the main screen, which should be patched up very soon. You see, that screen has been knocked down 9 times since 1952, and co-owner John Freiwald is not about to let this latest storm end a family tradition for Ruskin.
John and his wife Karen own the Ruskin Family Drive-In, which is one of only 4 remaining drive-in theaters in Florida, and they say the landmark is not going anywhere. Ticket sales are not going to make the couple rich anytime soon, but they say it’s important for the locals to have a place to take the kids and friends. By the way, the weather looks awesome this weekend. How about driving over to Ruskin and watching a movie with the whole family? There’s lots of delicious food at the concession stand and John and Karen will be there to say hello.
Which movie would YOU watch at a drive-in theater?
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