PARIS, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Bourbon Drive-in has been a Paris, Kentucky, staple for decades drawing thousands to its outdoor theater to watch the latest movies. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing spread out activities, the drive-in saw a surge in new customers during their 2020 season.
"Summer 2020 started out kind of, you know, we were getting ready to open up, and then the pandemic hit, and then the movies got pulled. So we lost about two and a half months," explained co-owner Trish Earlywine. "But then we got opened up first weekend in June and studios offered us all of these classic older movies, which turned out to be a lot of fun. The customers embraced them. They came from all different counties all around us and it was fun."
When Earlywine and her husband were dating, they worked together occasionally at the drive-in. After they married, they purchased the theater from her husband's parents in 1994. Since then, it has been a family affair.
"If I had wrapped it up it's a labor of love," Earlywine said, "You come when there might be two cars. You come when you've got a full house...You treat that person at one car out there as good as you would if you had a full house, and we've always tried to keep our prices -- My theory was I wanted people to be able to go there maybe couldn't afford to go anyplace. You know what I'm saying? Couldn't afford to go places but they could maybe come to the Drive-In and pick out a movie they want to see. So it's fun, it's a family affair behind the counter, and on the other side of the counter."
She said they kept their spirits high throughout the pandemic even after seeing movies pulled for showing faster than she's seen in her whole career.
"We've marked it all off we tried to social distance as good as we can. We did everything possible, but they could sit in their car or bring their lawn furniture and sit in front of it. But when they're parking in the middle, they got a pretty good space there to have their, their little get-together So, so far, as far as I know, no one got sick, and that was the biggest blessing of all."
She said in addition to seeing new customers from counties away to see older movies, they also took bookings for graduations, other school events, dance recitals, band concerts and ceremonies -- a trend she said is proving to continue into their upcoming season.
"We're gonna do the same thing we did last year, we're gonna be hopeful. We know we have this pandemic and this virus. And we'll do what we're told to do," she stated. "I've already had several people call wanting to do special events in the month of April. So the calendar is starting to fill up. So we're going to use a pencil. And we're going to be hopeful, and we'll see what happens."
The Bourbon Drive-In is set to open the first weekend of April for their 65th season. For the latest updates and to find out what movies are showing, visit their Facebook page by clicking here.