Like many young kids, I was exposed to a lot of new ideas through the movies. How to play football (Little Giants), how to connect with nature (Pocahontas), and how to befriend an alien (E.T.). While all of these things proved useful, one of the most nostalgic film discoveries for me was in Grease, when the Rydell High crew goes to the movies…IN THEIR CARS. This concept was foreign to me, as foreign as a Flintstone’s sherbert push-up would be to most children in 2012. Luckily, my parents believed in “old-fashioned family fun”, and I was able to see that drive-in movie theaters, as antiquated as they may seem, are still very much alive and well.
Although the first drive-in theater in Michigan was born in Detroit in 1938, the place to watch now is located in beautiful Honor, MI- The Cherry Bowl Drive-In. Having just finished it’s 59th season, the Cherry Bowl has become a summer staple for not only the local and surrounding families, but for fun connoisseurs all over the mitten. Campers staying at the Platte River, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Traverse City State Park are all just a few minutes away from the evening double feature, a nice landmark to add to the vacation experience. Not only does the Cherry Bowl appear as a 1950’s icon, frozen in time, the diner style food, old school mini-golf course and popcorn maker from the opening year, 1953, all provide for just as much of an experience as the films do.
Although the cinema still uses the original sound system to project through the speaker posts, you can also tune in with your vehicle’s FM radio. The Cherry Bowl always shows a double feature starting at dusk; these films are never rated higher than PG-13, to keep the destination family friendly. Catch clips of vintage film during the introduction, cartoons, and intermission between features!
The man northern Michigan owes thanks to for keeping such a tradition alive is Harry Clark, his loyal team and many volunteers who helped the Cherry-Bowl open this season. Although Clark has had some health problems recently, we hope to see him back as the drive-in first-timer/birthday and event announcer for the Cherry Bowl’s 60th season! While I’m sorry to say the Cherry Bowl is finished with its summer showings until 2013, you now have plenty of time to plan your trip to Honor, MI! Make sure you find them on Facebook to keep an eye on what’s showing, and remember: come hungry! Even the butter on the popcorn is freshly creamed, for goodness sake. See you there in 2013!
Lyndsay Israel- Feature Writer