Out and about: Perfect locations for date nights are sure to put a spark in your summer romance

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Hannah Dhue

 

If you’re looking for the perfect secluded spot for your next date, or just a small getaway with friends, look no further than Harvest Moon.

Bloomington-Normal’s movie lovers and adventure-seekers can make the 45-minute road trip to Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In in Gibson City, Illinois when it opens again to the public in April 2014.

With 11 acres and a 500-car capacity, visitors can enjoy Hollywood’s latest films projected in stunning digital HD on two 30’ x 60’ screens. Whether you choose to tailgate or lounge in your car, Harvest Moon claims that the clearer than Blu-Ray picture quality and FM digital surround-sound experience is as close to “IMAX under the stars” as one can possibly get.

From the comfort of your own vehicle, a movie at the drive-in can become an interactive experience— laughing, cheering, screaming or even crying along with your friends is completely acceptable. Harvest Moon gives their guests plenty to react to— especially at their annual Frightfest, which concludes each season in September with scary movies both new and classic.

If scary movies aren’t really your thing, Harvest Moon has plenty of other special feature nights to offer like College Night, Pajama Party and Throwback Thursdays.

While Harvest Moon does a great job of keeping up with the latest movies, one cannot possibly visit a drive-in like this one and not experience a bit of nostalgia. Even if you weren’t around for the heyday of the American drive-in theater, the quaintness of Gibson City and parts of Old Route 66 will thrust you right in the middle of it.

Clearly, nostalgia is still something Harvest Moon’s visitors cherish, as they stand by many of the time-honored drive-in traditions. A vintage 1940s carousel, which will sport its new makeover this spring, entertains children of all ages free with admission before the features begin on Fridays and Saturdays. Intermissions occur in the middle of each film, and they screen vintage ads for refreshments and sometimes even old films. You’ll be amazed at how much you and your friends will laugh at the dancing hot dogs and the 1950s models scarfing down dill pickles.

That’s another thing that the average multiplex can’t measure up to— the delicious carnival-style food. Harvest Moon has several themed refreshment stands with weekly food specials. They offer all of the must-haves like popcorn, soda and candy, but they also sell meal items like cheeseburgers, cheese sticks, chili cheese fries and nachos. Then there are specialty items you can’t find at most regular movie theaters like cotton candy, funnel cakes, horseshoes, pickles and even elephant ears— a sweet doughy treat.

Along with many other major renovations, guests can anticipate a greener season at Harvest Moon. In 2008, Harroun was able to offset electrical costs by installing a wind turbine like the ones you’ll see along your drive down Highway 9. Now, a new solar electric system will be up and running for 2014, making Harvest Moon the first solar-powered movie theatre in the Midwest.

Admission to Harvest Moon is a small price to pay for the unique experience, and it’s completely affordable when you consider prices at local Bloomington-Normal theaters. College students pay $7, kids ages 4-11 pay only $6, and anyone under age four gets in for free.

Be warned— Harvest Moon is a cash only establishment, with the exception of concession stands which charge a fee for using credit or debit cards. When you pay with cash at the entrance, sometimes the cashiers give you rare $2 bills in change—another fun and unique tradition.

To learn more, go online or call (217) 784-8770 to hear what’s playing this week. For other questions, call the office at (815) 268-4000.