Relive the drive-in era this weekend

The weather forecast looks great, so I’m crossing my fingers that the rescheduled outdoor showing of “Monster VS Aliens” goes off without a hitch on Saturday because I’d like nothing better than to take my kid, who’s never experienced going to the drive-in.

The Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority is putting up a big screen and popping loads of popcorn in anticipation of Saturday’s big event.

I grew up in an era when there were lots of drive-ins from which to choose. Today, almost all those great places are gone.

There was something so very special about going to the drive-in. As a kid, I remember the concession area; the play area; the evening’s usually warm breezes wafting through the windows of my parents’ car; the crackling speakers that hung off the window; my little brother sleeping on the back windshield ledge as my sister and I struggled to stay awake.

It was fun.

Then, as I got older, the fun evolved. It was sneaking a friend in via the trunk of the car. It was smoking cigarettes during the movie.

For those readers newer to life in Livingston County, there was a great old drive-in that operated in Brighton for nearly 40 years: the Lakes. It opened in 1951 and operated until 1989 on Grand River Avenue, east of Old U.S. 23 and across from Fonda Lake. The drive-in could accommodate 700 cars, and for years it stood still and empty until it was demolished.

There’s a cool website,, that chronicles the life and death of Michigan’s drive-in theaters. You might want to check it out.

Courtesy of that website is this video of the Lakes Drive-in, shot in 1989.

If, like me, you’re nostalgic for the good old days of the drive-in, you’ve got a chance to experience the next-best thing on Saturday with the showing of “Monsters VS Aliens,” which is rated PG. You’ll be able to tune in the audio on your car radio, and the movie will begin at dusk.

There are limited spots available, and admission is $5. To register, call (517) 546-0693, ext. 0, or click here.

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