The pandemic has forced the cancellation and delay of a number of events but the Hudson Valley's drive-in theaters have come to the rescue in a number of situations. And it turns out it is not the first time they've come in handy, more on that below. Smithsonian Magazine has dubbed the summer of 2020 as the 'Summer of the Drive-In Theater' and recognizes theaters across the country including one from the Hudson Valley.

But really each drive-in theater deserves to be recognized as providing a fun, safe, socially distant place to gather. And while new movies haven't been released, it's given audiences a chance to reconnect with old favorites. Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back recently topped the box office charts for the first time in two decades.

Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Four Brothers Drive-In in Amenia is highlighted by Smithsonian as a retro-style drive-in having opened in 2013. They can accommodate around 150 cars and they show double features seven nights a week. On Thursday nights they do a special triple feature. One thing noticed by co-owner John Stefanopoulous, more dead car batteries than usual. He seems to think this shows there are drive-in 'newbies' coming to experience the fun everyone is talking about so they've invested in jumper packs to help folks out.

Stephanopoulos outlines the safety protocols of social distancing, mask-wearing when appropriate, and sanitizing of restrooms after each use. So far the property has been used for comedy shows, throwback theme parties, fundraisers, and graduations. There has been growing usage around the country of drive-in theaters as concert venues allowing the return of live music in some areas.

When you take a look at the history books, in the 1950s prior to the invention of a vaccine, polio outbreaks led to social distancing and quarantine measures across the country. Leading to some similar conditions we face today. But once source of entertainment remained open during the summer months and that was drive-in movie theaters.

With advances in technology, you can get a projector and screen and have some movie fun at your house or in your backyard. But you can't be the ambiance of a Hudson Valley drive-in movie theater.

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