Saco Drive-In reopening at Aquaboggan next week
May 18—The Saco Drive-In, which closed after 83 years when its Route 1 property was sold last year, is reopening next weekend across the street at Aquaboggan Water Park.
The drive-in will be open at least Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through June, starting May 26 with a double feature — "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" and "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" — and may expand that schedule, according to Aquaboggan.
The theater, a beloved local landmark, is Maine's oldest drive-in and believed to be the second-oldest drive-in in the country. Roberge Construction, owners of the property where it had been located since 1939, sold the land last year to Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel, the largest independent trailer dealership in North America.
Soon after news of the sale broke, Aquaboggan announced that it was working to get city permits that would allow it to relocate the drive-in there.
"When the opportunity presented itself and everything became official, the new property owners were generous in allowing us to preserve as many items as possible from the original drive-in," Bud Hurst, owner of Aquaboggan and the Saco Drive-In, said in a statement Thursday. "While we intend to honor as much Saco Drive-In history as possible, the reality is that there are many issues with age, condition, and feasibility of moving many of those pieces, even just across Route 1. The process of evaluating the items continues even as we start the projector this year."
Ethan Mongue, the drive-in's general manager, said that the projector, old signs and much of the snack bar equipment have been moved to the water park, but the screen, the snack bar itself and restrooms could not be relocated because of their age and condition. Among the items they are trying to relocate are the fountain, pieces of the entrance and ticket booth, and old light posts.
The new location's capacity is 175 cars, compared to 300 to 350 across the street, Mongue said, but fewer cars will be allowed initially as they "determine what works best." The water park is scheduled to open for the season on June 24, but Mongue said the two businesses will not interfere with each other because their hours of operation won't overlap.
Aquaboggan restrooms will be available for moviegoers, and, to start the season, a food truck will be on site, but there are plans to repurpose another building into a snack bar, Mongue said. He would not say how much it cost to relocate and reopen the theater at the water park.