Drive-In Opening Postponed to Next Week

The Clackamas County Fairgrounds hoped to open its new drive-in movie theater, Fairground Features, this Friday — the same week the 2020 Clackamas County Fair would have been held, if not for Covid-19 — but it was not to be.

Fairgrounds Marketing and Vendor Coordinator Tyler Nizer reported that the hold-up is due to a delay in shipping for a component that is pretty crucial to the operations of the theater: the screen.

“We’re having some issues with getting the screen here,” said Nizer, who had stressed earlier this month that the Aug. 21 opening date was very tentative, and depended on all the stars aligning. “It is just taking longer than expected to get it shipped.”

The drive-in will instead open to the public on Friday, Aug. 28 — hopefully.

The fairgrounds had hoped to build a permanent drive-in theater this summer in the yellow lot on the property’s northwest corner — which would accommodate an estimated 400 visitors. But lost revenue from the many canceled events forced them to pivot to a temporary model while they build revenue and support.

“It just turns out it takes a lot of cement to hold a piece of metal way up in the sky, and keep it from falling on people and hurting them,” Canby City Councilor Greg Parker, who’s also a member of the fair board, said in early August. “The staff did the best it could; now we’re going to do a switcheroo and hopefully, within the next month, we’ll be getting some movies going on out there.”

The fairgrounds is working with Canby Cinema to procure the movies to be shown. Nizer said the drive-in will show new movies as soon as they can, but the Hollywood screening calendar has — of course — been wrecked by the coronavirus this summer, and new releases keep getting pushed back.

“As soon as we’re able to play new runs, we will be playing new runs,” he said.

One more new thing that is coming to the fairgrounds soon: A Taste of the Fair food court in the red lot, which is located outside the fence on the other side of the fairgrounds.

Open to both the public and drive-in audiences, the area will feature vendors from past Clackamas County Fairs, served via modified drive-thru. Movie theater concessions (popcorn, soda, etc.) will also be offered at the drive-in.

The soon-to-be temporary site of Fairground Features, the Clackamas County Fairgrounds’ drive-in theater, is seen on Friday, Aug. 7. File photo.

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