Our Story

Van Buren Drive-In & Activities Center

Our dream became reality in the fall of 2020 when we were able to purchase the abandoned Van Buren Drive-In.   At the time there was very little left of the old girl and she was in very rough shape.  She was born in 1948 and opened her doors in 1949.   Originally, with parking for 850 cars spread across almost 15 acres of parking area, she was one of the biggest of her time.   As drive-in attendance declined, the owners allowed the last few rows  to be reclaimed by the surrounding woods such that when the doors were closed in 1991, only 9 of 12 car rings remained usable.  Later in 2011 after years of neglect and vandalism, the original 1948 screen blew down in a tornado that ripped through Van Buren. 

Opening our doors as the Van Buren Drive-in & Activities Center on October 1, 2021, we currently have 1 screen built in the original location of the 1948 screen.   We are remodeling the original 1948 Concession Stand and Ticket Booth that are still standing although in very rough shape.   We are in the process of bringing them up to current building code for years of enjoyment!

Our future looks bright!   As we close to the public for the winter season, we will continue to build our second and third screens.   Our second screen will contain an LED Video Wall system that allows us to run 2nd run movies during the day.  We are one of a very few drive-ins able to offer this feature!  Our third screen will show first run feature movies and is located in our full service campground consisting of 20 large RV parking spots with full hook ups.   This third screen will also offer fire pit sites for watching the movies around the fire with friends and family...what fun!

We will be working hard for the rest of this season and through the winter to realize our dream.   Thank you for being part of it!

Dan & Gina Beckley

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Original 1949 Program

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What was left of the 1948 screen in 2020

Thank you to Tom Schaffer and Chad Graves for all of their hard, and MUDDY work removing this mess and cleaning up of the site.   Great job guys!

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The concession stand after years of vandels.

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Moving in the new screen facing!

Thank you to Noah Mathews and Brandon of              N. Mathews Enterprises for SO much work on the VBDI!

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The new screen goes up!!

Jerry Selby is a drive-in legend and has built screens all across the country for years.   Here Jerry is using a Kravitz crane truck to put up the steel work.   Thank you Jerry and thank you Ben Kravitz and Noah Mathews!