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Future uncertain for Sundance Drive-In theater in Oregon

The iconic drive-in is one of just a handful left in the country and a local non-profit wants to make sure it is around for years to come.

OREGON, Ohio — The Sundance Kid Drive-In movie theater in Oregon is a northwest Ohio staple. The business' owner, Keven Christy, has been running the drive-in since 2019. He said the owners of the land on which the business sits put the land up for sale about two years ago.

And that's causing complications and doubt about the future of the drive-in. The property owners' are trying to sell the land, the screens and concession stand. But, the other components of what makes the drive-in operate belong to Christy. 

In response to the potential sale of the property, a newly-formed non-profit called Save Our Screen has decided it wants to save the drive-in. The non-profit's Executive Director, Jennifer Beaver, said they've been working with Christie to move the project forward.

However, when WTOL 11 spoke with Christy about collaborating with the non-profit, he said it's still not clear to him how he would fit into the organization’s plans, but he is willing to work with them at the end of the theater's season.

"If they want to continue it as a drive-in, they have to, in essence buy me out. Or I just pull out my equipment and move elsewhere, or sell it and off we go," said Christy.

Christy said he isn't trying to buy the land himself and said he's not against change. But, he would like to continue to operate the drive-in, at least for the foreseeable future. 

"I got another two or three good years before I really wanted to retire. We were really working towards getting here, the Sundance for the 75th anniversary," said Christy. 

As for Save Our Screen, they have specific plans for the drive-in's future.

"We want to make it go back to the Parkside Drive-In, which is what it was when it opened back on April 27, 1949," said Beaver.

They also hope to eventually bring in a nation museum of drive-ins to the site.

Save Our Screen currently does not have the money to buy the property, but it is fundraising and says they are in contract with the land owners to buy the property. 

If you want more information about Save Our Screen and its fundraiser, click here.

WTOL 11 will continue to follow this story.


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