"The Force Awakens" in the Big Woods.

Friday, December 18th, 2015 at 5:10 PM
The Force Awakens in the Big Woods. by Ryan Smith
Photo courtesy Kane Family Drive-In Theatre

I’ve always loved my hometown’s drive-in movie theatre.

It was the place where I first saw so many movies: everything from The Neverending Story (I was really little, and it was absolutely awesome) to Austin Powers (I wasn’t so small, and it wasn’t so awesome).

I mean so many movies. The Kane Family Drive-In Theatre is great, and it’s always held a special little place in my heart.

Until today: Now, that place in my heart has grown bigger -- like, Death Star-sized.

That’s because on Fridays and Saturdays through Jan. 9, that sweet, classic little drive-in -- situated about 110 miles east of Erie, in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest -- is screening (you guessed it) Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


It’s the first time in the Kane Family Drive-In’s 63-year-history that a movie has been screened in the winter, according to its people, and The Bradford Era reported recently that Kane’s was the first drive-in the northeastern U.S. to have committed to premiering the film.

“To be able to bring such a monumental film to our small area on the day it's released is a privilege that was just too incredible to pass up,” drive-in spokesperson Tracy Smith (no relation to yours truly) told the Reader earlier this week. “And to the best of my knowledge, I don't know of any other drive-in showing this.”

As should be expected, that -- along with the giant Death Star projected onto the drive-in’s screen in recent days -- has created quite a buzz back in the Big Woods.

“The excitement has been multiplying every day, and the thanks we've received has been overwhelming,” Smith said. “We're just overjoyed to actually experience the most incredible story that takes place in the stars under the stars themselves.”

Now, if you’re thinking about journeying to witness this first-time-ever opportunity to experience real movie magic (I know what the wife and kids and I are doing on New Year’s Day), there are a couple of things the folks at the drive-in would like you to know: The drive-in’s gates and box office open at 6 p.m. each evening of screenings, and "The Force Awakens” at 7 p.m. The only way any shows will be canceled, they say, is if there’s a big-time, really major snowfall.

Also, the theatre is allowing movie-goers to bring their own food into the drive-in for this event, but they do kindly ask that you buy your popcorn and soda there.

For the Kane Family Drive-In Theatre’s admission rates, directions, and more information about this monumental movie event, visit the drive-in’s website here or call 837.9760.

Ryan Smith can't wait to watch Star Wars under the stars with his family. Makes him feel like a kid just thinking about it. When his head's not off in space, he can be reached at rsmith@eriereader.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @ryanmsmithplens.

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 19
Now Available — Pick It Up Today


ComiCon Erie draws it up differently

Erie family’s showbiz legacy becomes new musical

A cosplay consultation with Brooke Surgener 

Asian-American band breaks barriers

WineFest raises a glass to its 36th year


Erie family’s showbiz legacy becomes new musical

A cosplay consultation with Brooke Surgener 

Asian-American band breaks barriers

WineFest raises a glass to its 36th year

Art in abundance for local enthusiasts

Irishfest offers up a pot of gold on its silver anniversary

Villains may be a bit slicker, but there’s still plenty of grease and grime beneath that polish.

Millcreek School Busses 

Innovative ways to attract jobs and business

The keystone of economic recovery