FRANKLIN, W.Va. — The closed Warner Drive-In theater, fondly remembered as a provider of summer weekend entertainment, combining privacy and family fun, will reopen Sept. 9 with the Disney movie “Finding Dory,” thanks to the fundraising efforts of concerned citizens refusing to lose an American icon.
Gates open at 6 p.m.; the movie starts at dusk.
By the spring of 2017, the Warner Drive-In Cultural & Resource Center (WDI), a nonprofit corporation, will extend its seasonal use and broaden its offerings to include a stage for dance, music and theater presentations and a pavilion to provide covered space for community use.
“It will be a family-centered music and performance venue, and a place to hold fundraisers and small markets,” said volunteer Jane Seegar. “Movies will be the heart of the schedule, with plans to update the kitchen and create a fresh summer drive-in menu, but as an event center, the drive-in could host family reunions, be a stage for local and touring music, dance and theater, and stream live concerts, theater and sports.”
Built in the 1950s approximately 2.5 miles north of Franklin on U.S. 220, the former Warner Drive-In provided low-cost entertainment until movie studios converted into digital format with the comparable projector costing around $100,000. The company leasing the property from owners Franklin Oil Company did not want to invest that much in a rental…