By BRYCE RIGGS
Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce
TIFFIN – The newly renovated Tiffin Drive-In Theater will celebrated its grand re-opening weekend over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The theater opened its 2022 season on April 8 after a year-and-a-half of major design, construction and expansion to the facility.
“We’ve redesigned, rebuilt, rebranded, and reimagined the entire theater,” said new owner Michael Cole. “We wanted to carry on the tradition of the theater but create a unique facility that would allow us to take some new approaches to how to do a drive-in theater.”
The facility’s new food diner hearkens back to a 1950s eatery, complete with checkerboard floor and shiny metallic trim. Yet the cinematic presentation is generated by some of the latest and best equipment in the world.
“I think of our theater as a blast from the past with a state-of-the-art twist,” Cold said.
The prime example of this is the theater’s Screen 1 projector, the Barco Sp4k 55 laser cinema projector. The unit is the newest, brightest, sharpest, most powerful laser cinema projector in the world. And the Tiffin Drive-In Theater is the only theater in the world who has it.
“It’s really a hoot that the most powerful cinema projector in the world is right here in our little drive-in in Tiffin, Ohio,” Cole said. “But it really is true. You won’t find a better picture on any drive-in theater screen anywhere. The image it puts on that giant screen is spectacular. It’s just unbelievably sharp. The brightness gives the picture a tremendously rich color palette, and the audiences love it.”
In addition to the new building and new equipment, the facility is surrounded by a social plaza with picnic tables where customers can dine and mingle before and during the shows. The theater’s lot was also expanded by 45 parking spots to accommodate larger crowds. The drive-in’s two screens were newly rebuilt back in October of 2020, the first phase of the long-term project.
The weekend also marked the opening of the theater’s diner into a newly expanded daytime ice cream and grill eatery, introducing its new name, The Moonlite Diner. New daytime ice cream treats, and snacks will complement the existing drive-in food fare of burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pretzels, french fries, ribbon fries, popcorn, and other items of the movie-time menu. Games like cornhole and ladder golf will be available for patrons to play at The Moonlite Diner, and before the drive-in movies as well.
“The Moonlite Diner will make the Tiffin Drive-In Theater a place of good food and entertainment both day and night,” Cole said.
Prizes such as carload passes will be raffled to early-arriving movie-goers all three nights. A pre-show radio broadcast called “Tiffin Drive-in Radio” will be broadcast live over FM 87.9. The broadcast will carry music, announcements, upcoming shows, interviews, trivia and the prize drawings before each show.
“We are building a unique atmosphere of good-natured fun and entertainment at the theater,” Cole said. “We hope everyone comes out to experience the fun and nostalgia and just plain good times waiting for them at the drive-in.”
Bryce Riggs is executive director, Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at senecaregionalchamber.com.