The Historic Drive-In may be closed for good! We need your help to save it!
Below is a very important piece of info on the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In, where we hold our annual September Flashback Weekend Fall Dusk-till Dawn Drive-In event. Those of you who attend the All-Nighter last September know that the Hi-Lite 30 is a great Drive-In and can vouch for it!
The Hi-Lite 30 is our favorite Drive-In in our little corner of Illinois. It is located in Aurora, Illinois and is the oldest operating Drive-In in Illinois (beginning right after World War II ended) The atmosphere is incredible! Nova Cinemas has operated the Drive-In for the last nine years and have done a great job! They have run several dusk-till-dawn events and classic drive-in era films over the last decade, and they really know what the Drive-In experience is all about.
The Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In was our choice for holding the Flashback Weekend DUSK TILL DAWN HORRORFEST in September 2005. Ryan Kolkmeyer and the rest of the Hi-Lite 30 staff were great to work with, and the event was a blast! Working with Ryan, we have plans to hold a 2006 Fall event there, but there is one problem - see the below story! (Quoted)
“The popular Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In, which first opened in 1947, remains “Closed For the Season”, when it has usually already opened by now. Owned by Parkside Inc. until recently, the drive-in property was sold to Bigelow Homes which is developing the property that surrounds the Hi-Lite, according to a story in today’s Aurora Beacon-News. Bigelow deeded the drive-in property to the city of Aurora, which now will be deciding the drive-in’s future.
Nova Cinemas has leased and operated the theater since 1997 and is interested in obtaining a ten-year contact to continue operating the Hi-Lite from the city. Ryan Kolkmeyer, Nova’s director of operations, says Nova would like to regrade the parking lot, build a new fence around the theater, and restore a long-unused adjacent indoor theater for live entertainment and concerts. The improvements would be at no cost to the taxpayer, said Kolkmeyer. “In its current format, the theater is a profitable business. It is revenue for the city.”
Not only is Nova Cinemas waiting for a decision, but so are fans of the drive-in, one of only a few in Illinois, and only a couple left in the Chicago suburbs (the other being the Cascade Drive-In in West Chicago). Rose Fromm of Channahon said, “Sure we can see the movies in some big theater, with controlled temperatures and stadium seating, but it just isn’t the same. It will be a sad day if we lose this piece of Americana.”
The City of Aurora now holds the deed to the Drive-In property, and alone controls its fate. We cannot allow another Drive-In to be destroyed. We need your help to save the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In.
There is a plan to restore the Drive-In and the 1,000 seat indoor theatre that is also located on the property, but the plan needs your support!
Alderman Stefanie Kifowit supports the plan to save the Drive-In. Mayor Tom Weisner is currently listening to both sides on the issue.
We need everyone to send a separate letter to the two below addresses. Each is vitally important in the decision to save the Hi-Lite. Please keep each letter positive and tell the Mayor and Alderman how important the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In is, and ask them to preserve the American tradition of outdoor Drive-Ins. Tell them you will support the Drive-In and the merchants in Aurora.
If you live out of state, tell them that you travel to film events like Flashback Weekend, and look forward to visiting Aurora to attend future events at the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In.
Please send a letter to each of the below addresses:
Attn: Mayor Tom Weisner
44 East Downer Place
Aurora, IL 60507
Attn: Alderman Stefanie Kifowit
44 East Downer Place
Aurora, IL 60507
Your letters may not only help save a vital piece of Americana for generations to come, but will also allow you a chance to attend this amazing Drive-In yourself at a future Flashback Weekend event!
To see photos of the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In, visit www.hilitedrivein.com.