by Carrie Havranek
There’s something about watching a summer blockbuster on the big screen at a drive-in. There’s something about summer that just begs for movies in the park, where you roll a blanket up into a bag with snacks and sprawl out on a lawn somewhere—or open up a low-lying chair. Here are five cool places for outdoor movies in the Lehigh Valley.
Becky’s Drive In, Berlinsville. I remember watching Star Wars as a child in the drive-in as a kid, when it was re-released before The Empire Strikes Back (y’know, cause we didn’t have VCRs or DVRs or anything of its ilk). Wanna go old school and watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2, at midnight on July 14? Becky’s is showing the first part at dusk, and then following it up with the sequel at 12:01am. Becky’s, which has been operating in its current location since 1946, is open seven days a week and boasts two separate screens. On weekends there are pony rides for the kids, and old-fashioned summer snack bar fare is always available, with a Pennsylvania twist (hot dogs, yes; but you’ll also find also pierogies and funnel cake). Adults $8; kids 12 and under $8; kids 2 and under free. 4548 Lehigh Drive, Berlinsville; 610-767-2249.
Movies at the Mill, Easton. My sources tell me there’s a meeting later this month to talk about what’s going to happen this fall with this burgeoning event, in its third year. The mill in question is the Silk Mill, currently in the throes of being rehabbed and part of a larger refurbishment project along the Bushkill Creek. The movies? Well, we’re hoping they’re good, independent, provocative, and shown outdoors in crisp fall air. The web site desperately needs an update, but keep checking; if we hear anything, we’ll share it.
Movies in the Park, Allentown. Whodathunk that there’s such a thing as a giant inflatable movie screen? Bring blankets and lawn chairs and snacks and things and settle in for an evening of free entertainment, watching movies up on a big inflatable screen. Upcoming screenings include Where the Wild Things Are (Friday, July 23, Arts Park); Sherlock Holmes (Saturday, August 21, West Park) Free. City of Allentown Department of Parks and Recreation, 610-437-7750.
North by Northwest Neighborhood Initiative, Bethlehem. Also known as Bethlehem’s Elm Street project, North By Northwest not only shares a name with the Alfred Hitchock film (pure coincidence) but is chockablock with plans for your summer. Tonight’s movie (July 14) is Waking Ned Devine, which is being shown at the Sun Inn courtyard in Bethlehem; July 20th’s movie is Despicable Me, at Fairview Park. Films continue through the end of August, more or less weekly; locations will vary so check the web site. Free.
Shankweiler’s Drive-In, Orefield. Now in its 78th consecutive season, Shankweiler’s, like Becky’s, is one of the very few drive-ins left in America. You don’t have to wait until the weekend to see a movie here; in the summer time, as Shankweiler’s is open nightly through Labor Day. Through July 14, the theater is showing Cars 2 (9pm) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (11:15pm), through. Come early to get a good spot, let the kids run around, and buy some funnel cake, hot dogs or popcorn; it’s made with REAL butter. Cash only; $8 adults; $4 children 12 and under; free for kids 2 and under. 4540 Shankweiler Road, Orefield; 610-481-0800.
Carrie Havranek is a writer in Easton who isn’t going to tell you how long it’s been since she’s been to a movie, inside or outside—it’s just too embarrassing.