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Drive-ins popular during social distancing

At the height of their popularity, there were over 4,000 drive-in movie theaters across the U.S. The Montana in Estill Spring is one of just 13 remaining in the state. {Historic Photo}

ESTILL SPRINGS — At their peak, there were over 4,000 of them across the U.S. Then HBO and Blockbuster pushed them out of the spotlight. Today, there are just a little over 300 drive-in movie theaters across American and one of them just happens to be in our own backyard in Estill Springs.

Opened in 2004 by the Rhoton family, the Montana Drive-In Theater now exists as one of just 13 still in operation in Tennessee. They opened back up on May 1 and have remained open daily ever since. And why not? Moviegoers can watch films from the safety and comfort of their own vehicles. There’s no need to step outside but even if you do, the theater’s put several social distancing measures in place to protect its patrons.

For example, the bathrooms are open but only two people are allowed inside to use them at one time. They’ve also closed their often-packed inside concession stand but the outdoor stand remains open though the menu is limited. They’ll even issue you a pager to let you know when your order is ready or a carhop can visit your parked without you ever having to get out.

According to their website, they are open daily showing recently released films on three screens. This weekend they’ll show Trolls and Dolittle on screen 1, The Wretches and How to Build a Girl on screen 2, and Valley Girl and The Addams Family on screen 3. All showtimes are at 8 p.m.

For more information or weekly update on the films they plan to screen, visit their Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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