Clackamas County Fairgrounds Exploring Possibility of Showing Drive-In Movies

An un-Fair summer may be getting a little brighter.

The Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Event Center is exploring the possibility of showing drive-in movies during a year where most of its large public events — including the county fair and rodeo — have had to be canceled out of concern for the coronavirus pandemic.

The process is still in the very early stages, according to Marketing and Events Coordinator Tyler Nizer.

“We’re trying to get rolling on it,” he told the Canby Now Podcast. “Right now, we’re just seeing if it’s feasible and if it meets the executive order. But we’re putting the numbers together and trying to make it work. We’d love to bring this to the community because we know people are wanting to get out.”

Nizer provided the first update on the project to the Clackamas County Fair Board last week, and he said they were in complete support.

“The fair board is behind it,” he said. “If we can meet all the requirements, then they’re totally for it. They’re excited that we might actually be able to use the fairgrounds in this time.”

Though he’s never been given the go-ahead before, Nizer said this is not the first time the idea of drive-in movies at the fairgrounds has come up.

“Honestly, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do here,” he said. “Obviously, this is the perfect opportunity for it, but it’s always been in the back of my mind. And maybe in the future, it’s something we could still use to bring something fun to the community during a weekend that we don’t have something else happening at the fairgrounds.”

Of course, there is a reason only a handful of drive-in movie theaters still exist in the entire state of Oregon, including the 99W Drive-In in Newberg, which is set to reopen soon. There are the matters of equipment, staffing, bathrooms, concessions, movie licensing rights and the ever-present social distancing guidelines that must all be taken into account.

Fairgrounds staff have not settled on a location for where the temporary or, possibly, permanent drive-in theater would go. And, he confirmed, they are also exploring the possibility of arranging drive-in concerts.

Moving forward, they are working with local community partners, including Canby Cinema 8, which has attempted other creative ways to do business amid the Covid shutdown, including bringing back family movie nights with their “mystery movie box” packages.

“There’s a lot that we have to take into consideration,” Nizer admitted. “But we’re hopeful. We’re working really hard, and we really want to make this happen for people if we can.”

Photo by Discover Lehigh Valley, PA. Licensed under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

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