HENAGAR, Ala. — It’s been one year since a DeKalb County drive-in theatre made international news when the then owners of the Henagar Drive-In Theatre decided not to show Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast because of a homosexual character. The theatre has a new owner since then, and now it’s being leased by a family who says they would like to “bring back a staple”.
“When the owner of the drive-in contacted me to lease it, I thought who better than my family,” explained new operator Dominique Wilson. Her family has their own memories of the place. She and her husband used to take their three kids there when they were small.
“The first time they walked through these doors after we had leased it the first thing they said was ‘we’re behind the counter at the drive-in!’ and they’re adults,” Wilson said.
They’re running the theatre, located in the small DeKalb County city of Henagar on Sand Mountain, as a family. They’ve been leasing since September. “We’re trying to bring back this drive-in because the community deserves it,” Wilson said.
They’ve incorporated some of their own family into the drive-in: from everyone pitching in, to the menu. “Our family recipes are in here,” Wilson said, “My uncle makes an amazing rub and that’s what we use. My mother-in-law taught me long ago how to make chili, it’s simple, and that’s what we use. We don’t use canned, processed food. It’s fresh.”
Their goal is to make the drive-in something people in the community can enjoy like their own family used to. “We want to bring back this staple,” Wilson said.
They also want to move on. “The excitement that this place brings is just awesome and I want it to go on for generation after generation, and we can do it,” Wilson said, “We can bring it back, and it’s just getting to know us I think.”
The Wilsons have revamped and redone some things, and they spend time working at the drive-in after their other jobs. But, they say it’s worth it because to them, the place means a lot, and they want it to move forward.
The drive-in is open Friday and Saturday and the gates open at 5:30. The first movie starts at sunset. You can find more information here.