Standing the test of time, Rustic Drive-In celebrates 70 years

Blackstone Valley

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After a year of uncertainty, the Rustic Drive-In is celebrating its 70th birthday.

Last year, the popular outdoor theater was forced to delay its opening night because of the pandemic.

General Manager Holli Ann St. Jacques tells 12 News they’re sticking with the same restrictions put into place last year, which includes guests wearing masks while outside of their vehicles.

St. Jacques hopes that, once the state eases restrictions on May 28, she will be able to increase capacity, but that isn’t her main concern.

The lack of movie releases, she said, is what she’s worried about this year.

“They are still pushing back titles and we’re hoping that as the summer progresses that those titles start coming out like they’re supposed to,” she said.

The Rustic Drive-In has not only survived the pandemic, but also the test of time. It opened in 1951 and stayed open even when other drive-ins couldn’t.

The drive-in is a staple for many locals, including Miriam Keithen, who said she’s been coming to Rustic since she was 6 years old.

“To me, this is actually better than going to a movie theater,” she said.

Keithen said she wouldn’t trade the three screens, two showings and a night out with her son for anything.

“Knowing that I can pass on that tradition to my own family is amazing,” Keithen said.

Those who are interested in catching a show are urged to purchase tickets ahead of time online.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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