When's the last time you went to a drive-in movie? Before the pandemic hit, that was usually answered by saying "years ago" or "I've never been to one." We are really lucky here in the Texas panhandle to still have a couple drive in theaters in business. In Amarillo, the Tascosa Drive-In has been a staple for many years as well as the Sandell Drive-In Theater down in Clarendon. While those businesses have always done well enough the keep the lights on, since the pandemic hit, the popularity of drive-in movies are at an all-time high.

The drive-in theater model is perfect for social distancing and was one of the only types of movie theaters that were allowed to remain open for much of the spring and summer of 2020. We have even seen indoor complex's like Cinergy Entertainment install outdoor screens for the drive-in experience. Since we have always had drive-in theaters here in the panhandle, we may actually take them for granted.

In Texas, there are still 20 permanent drive-ins open and operating. Our state has one of the highest amount of drive-ins, with most states averaging only 6.58, according to WorkWise. The only other states to have more are New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. But Texas wasn't always near the top of the list. We have had the most re-opened drive-in theaters in the nation since the 1990's, with 15 openings. Another great thing about Texas drive-in movie theaters is the cost. The national average for a ticket is $10.14. Here in the Lone Star state, it is only about $9.75.

Growing up in Maryland and Virginia, I can tell you personally that drive-in theaters were few and far between. Typically you would have to drive a long distance to even get to one, and that was getting harder and harder to find as they continued to close up. While drive-ins are popular right now with the ease of social distancing, let's just make sure we don't forget them again in the future. If you have never been to one, make it a point to go. Experience a simpler time with a drive-in movie. Pack snack, blankets, and have fun!