Drive-in theater closing after 55 years, community heartbroken

27 Drive-In announced on Facebook Wednesday it would not be reopening

SOMERSET, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Somerset community is shocked and saddened by news of a community staple closing down. After 55 years, the 27 Drive-In theater has announced it will be closing.

“I think it represents family,” says Brittany Whitaker, a lifelong 27 Drive-In movie goer.

In 1967, the 27 Twin Drive-In opened in Somerset. Wednesday, the outdoor movie theater announced on Facebook it would “remain closed after our 54th season”. The whole post reads:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 27 Drive-In. Since 1967, generations of guests have heard those words while waiting to see the movies.

Sadly, the combination of many factors has damaged the viability of the operation.

After much deliberation, the decision has been made to remain closed after our 54th season.

We would like to thank our great fans for decades of support. We have also enjoyed the support of our wonderful staff and a host of suppliers. We will miss you all. We wish you well.

The announcement spurred an outcry on social media with the post gathering thousands of likes and shares. Those commenting expressed their heartbreak over the decision to close, while sharing memories created over the last 5 decades at the drive-in.

“You go to the movie theater, it’s not the same. You know even if it is set up, you know families can go there too but they’re not outside, they’re not looking at the stars, they’re not playing in the grass and the dirt and playing with bugs,” says Whitaker. “It’s just there’s nothing set up like this anymore.”

Whitaker says her whole family has been coming to the drive-in for as long as she can remember. Her grandparents went when they were younger, then her dad, then her and she was beginning to start the tradition with her own children.

“My daughter’s 8, she’s come several times but my son, he’s five months old, we’ve not brought him and he’s not going to have that experience unless we drive somewhere,” says Whitaker. “Then we’re putting money into other counties and we’re putting money into other areas and it’s just, it’s really sad.”

People on social media are asking for more of an explanation for the closing saying if it’s a financial reason, there are people willing to donate money or help find a buyer to keep the drive-in around for years to come.

ABC 36 News reached out to 27 Drive-In for comment and received a reply that there would be no statement.

“It’s something different, it’s an experience, it’s unique,” says Whitaker. “I just feel like there’s a place for it in the community.”

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