With Summer fast approaching, it is time to start listing favorite places to spend those precious warm days and nights, especially if you’re a midwesterner like me. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorites: Harvest Moon Drive in Theater in Gibson City, Illinois.
Going to drive in movie theaters has always been one of my favorite summer activities. From a young age, my parents took my sister and me to a drive in near us and it was always a fun time. Once I moved away for college, I was sad to think that I might not be able to go to the drive in during the beginning and end of summer; I didn’t want this tradition to be cut short by the start of the school year.
However, after just a short time on campus, I found out that East Central Illinois has a drive in just as great as the one I went to growing up: Harvest Moon Drive in. This theater is family-run and situated in Gibson City. Though the city’s name may hint at a larger town, this drive in is located in the midst of many vast fields, mostly used for farming. If you’re driving there from a further starting point, as I do when I go, seeing Harvest Moon start to appear in the distance, as I drive the winding road through the fields, makes the theater seem like a beacon.
This theater is unique to begin with just because there are not that many drive in theaters open anymore. However, this drive in is even more unique in that it actually has two screens, not just one, allowing them to show two movies at once. As you drive in, after purchasing your tickets from the drive-through ticket booth, you see the two screens on either end, facing each other, with wide-open spaces for cars to park and enjoy the movie.
Equidistant from each screen, in the middle of everything, are three buildings that house the concession stands and restrooms. The main concession stand, called the snack bar, is complete with a long menu to choose from, including many sweet treats, like assorted candy and ice cream sandwiches, to savory treats, like popcorn, nachos, and dill pickles.
Another building, located directly next to the snack bar and called the burger barn, which lives up to its name, serving many different kinds of meats, from hot dogs, to corn dogs, and, of course, burgers. If you’re especially daring (and hungry!), try their Harvest Moon Ponyshoe, which is made up of a 1/3 pound grilled Black Angus beef patty, put on “Texas toast,” and topped with fries and cheddar cheese sauce. If you come hungry, you will definitely be full after eating this!
Make sure to check out the Tiki Hut, the third building in this area, for other treats, such as snow cones, caramel corn, and chocolate covered bananas. You do not want to miss out on the great selection of food and snacks that this drive in offers, so come hungry! Even if you aren’t sure if you want anything to eat at the beginning of the movie, you can always grab something during intermission.
Get your drive in experience started by checking out their website and see what is playing in the upcoming weeks.
If you are not in the East Central Illinois area, make sure to look up any drive ins near you and check them out if you have not already. Family-run, small businesses like these depend on their customers and offer a great summer experience!