Zach Germain
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Ohio Community Pitches in to Help Historic Drive-In

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The Starlite Drive-In has been a part of the Amelia, Ohio landscape since its opening in 1947, and is one of just 28 drive-ins remaining in Ohio. But a 70-year-old legacy nearly came to an end this year.

A jewel of the hey-day of drive-ins, the Starlite is a single-screen venue that can accommodate about 500 cars per showing. The Starlite has operated on weekends in spring & fall, and 7-days-a-week in peak summer months. That adds up to a lot of showings since 1947.

Maybe that’s why the community was more than willing to pull together to help save the Starlite from disrepair after a severe winter left structures crippled.

Starlite owner, Deborah Brooks, told Local 12 News about the damage to the screen tower, lovingly dubbed ‘Alice’ over the years. “I could see from the ceiling that the light was coming through and it seemed like the front of the face wanted to fall from the rest of the structure and I knew that it was totally unsafe.”
Faced with uncertainty, Brooks took a very modern tact to try to save the drive-in. She posted to the drive-in’s Facebook page, asking for advice on whether or not it should be time to ‘repair, retire, or rebuild?’
The community outpouring of support helped Brooks to decide that there was no other option but to rebuild old Alice. The help continued as ‘Alice Superwoman 2’ was constructed, a screen that was taller, wider, and forged of steel.
Starlite Drive-In

Demolition of the 70-year-old Starlite Drive-In screen tower
Photo: Starlight Drive-In

‘Jerry’ had been added to the team in 2013, a new digital projector prepared to roll the latest in movie magic. This upgrade alone was designed to ensure a lasting future for the Starlite Drive-In, and now Jerry and Alice are fated to play together for decades to come.
The Grand Reopening of the Starlite was a success. In a time when so many drive-in movie theaters are shuttering their ticket booths forever, the Starlite in Amelia is an important success story to take note of.

Zach Germain is the son of owner Steve Germain and the Executive Manager at Infiniti of Easton. A former race car driver for Germain Racing, Zach now enjoys hanging out with his dog Rocket and sharing his love for Infiniti with car enthusiasts.