by Chase Rogers
DRIPPING SPRINGS – The newly-opened Dripping Springs Drive-In Cinema just outside of the city limits had its first weekend in operation with screenings of “Shrek,” Back to the Future,” Groundhog Day” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” delighting visitors with a classic drive-in experience surrounded by the Hill County.
The drive-in business seems to be a dream come true for co-owner Jeffrey Edward, who was raised long ago on the land where the drive-in is located. The land has been in the family for 40 years.
Edwards is joined in the venture by co-partner Brooke Bitter.
The drive-in is open Wednesday through Saturday, and is located north of town at 30291 RR 12, Dripping Springs. It is an approximate 15-minute drive from Bee Cave and Belterra. Upcoming movie selections are set to include “Trolls,” “Superbad” and “Jurassic Park.”
Concessions are offered at the drive-in, but the owners only sell pre-packaged food like movie candy and popcorn and non-alcoholic pre-packaged drinks. In addition, anyone who steps outside of his or her vehicle is required to wear a mask, even if socially distanced.
Edwards said that his passion and love of films and movies drove him to start the venture. “We’re starting with showing bigger, mainstream classic films, but we also plan to show other great movies that people might not have seen,” he said. “That’s what movie theaters are all about, whether drive-in or not, that can’t be re-created at home streaming Netflix on your TV or phone.”
He also said that the local talent is a great reason to open the drive-in. “Central Texas has such a huge film roots and influences like Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez and Terrence Malick who shoot locally and are from Texas,” Edward said. “Just this August a friend of mine worked on a movie shot entirely in Dripping Springs over the course of the month here. We should encourage that and represent Texas. Represent Texans. Not leave other states like Georgia or New Mexico to take that away.”
The drive-in idea is also perfect, according to Edward, because it is outdoors. There aren’t any special clauses for them because it is completely outside. “By its nature, drive-ins are great for these times as they’re outside which means no re-circulated air, and also socially distanced.”
Opening night was slightly delayed due to rain, but “it went great, minus some drizzle,” Edward said. Wrapping up their Saturday night showing, Edward recapped the evening in a Facebook post, citing improvements he hopes to make for future showings.
“What a beautiful night under the stars we had. I am humbled and honored by all who’ve visited,” Edward wrote. “We keep improving, and always thinking of new ideas. I think next is a stage to elevate the screen as I know most people have large trucks. I think too, Karaoke safely done. Lots to come.”
“It’s been an honor to help bring some joy and relief to people during these very stressful times,” Edward said. “Nothing really has made me happier but to find a way to give back at this time.”
Edward said he has traveled to a lot of drive-ins while considering the idea. But he says his spot is perfect because of the location.
“We don’t have any city lights distracting from the quality of the picture on the screen or for seeing the stars in the sky,” he said. “I’ve been to all the drive-ins around (the area); ours is unique in that it’s more like a park or greenbelt.”
According to the co-owners, 2% of the theater’s profits go to Foster Village Austin, a nonprofit aiming to support foster families and foster children, and Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), a nonprofit animal shelter. The drive-in sold out its first show, a screening of “Shrek.”
“Thank you so much for the warm reception. So happy to bring some fun and also help donate to local nonprofits,” Edward wrote to attendees.