The Drive 815 brings weekly outdoor movies to your car

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Karl Belle(L) cooked up some tasty burgers for hungry families at the concession stand at the Rockton Athletic Field, Aug 21. The Drive 815 was showing the movie "Moana." Jalen Ponder,(R), CEO of Evendtor Marketing, and the Beloit International Film

Remember the fun of packing a car full of friends on a warm summer night and heading to the local drive-in? The concept died out for a while, but now drive-ins are making a return.

Local entrepreneur Jalen Ponder is getting in on the new trend.

In June, 2021, Ponder, CEO of Evendtor, a digital marketing company, partnered with Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) to bring movies outdoors again. Ponder is a 2020 graduate of Hononegah Community High School.

“Business is going well,” Ponder said recently. Movies are shown Friday and Saturday nights on a huge pop-up screen at Rockton Athletic Fields, 12801 Old River Rd, in Rockton.

Tickets can be purchased online at their Facebook page through EventBrite or through their text club at http://drive815.com/. Cost is $20 per carload or $25 at the gate. Movies will run until the end of October.

On a recent Friday evening, Ponder greeted incoming cars wearing a flower lei around his neck. It was Hawaiian Night at the drive-in. The featured movie was “Moana.” Needless to say, the parking area was filled with little ones and their parents.

Families tailgated from their cars, or ate a burger from the food truck on the premises. Games, music, and glittery balloon-tying were a nice addition to the drive-in experience.

It won’t be long before the weather gets cold and the drive-in shuts down for the season. There’s still time to catch a movie at The Drive 815’s Cinemas from your car.

Mom and Dad and little girls Olivia and Kristen are ready to watch the movie "Moana" on the big outdoor screen at The Drive 815, on Saturday night, Aug. 21. The outdoor theater at the Rockton Athletic Fields opened in June. Family-oriented movies will be shown through October.
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