Northfield Drive-In celebrates 70th anniversary weekend with retro movies

One of the first drive-ins in the country, the Northfield Drive-In Theatre will celebrate its 70th anniversary Aug. 3, 4, and 5 with a Retro Weekend. The double feature will be E.T. The Extraterrestrial, shown first at 8:15 p.m., followed by Top Gun. The movies will be shown rain or moonshine.

For 70 years, the theater has provided generations of moviegoers with fun for all ages.

“Though the last 70 years have brought about many changes in technology, culture, and demographics, the Northfield Drive-In remains true to its original intent of being an affordable, family-friendly, entertaining night out,” owner Mitchell Shakour said in a news release.

The snack bar will be open with a full menu starting at 6:30 p.m. The snack bar has been serving vegetarian and vegan fare for more than 25 years, in addition to fresh ground burgers from Kulick's Market in Winchester, N.H. Visitors may also enjoy fried dough, fried pickles, hot dogs, corn dogs, pretzels, and more.

The Northfield Drive-In Theatre showed its first movie ever on Aug. 3, 1948. The first film shown was a single feature, Thunder in the Valley, also known as Bob: Son of Battle. The original arc and carbon projectors were bought used from an indoor theater in Northampton, Mass. They served the drive-in faithfully until 2014, when the new digital projector was purchased.

At the height of the drive-in craze in the 1960s, there were more than 6,000 operating drive-ins. Now, according to the Drive-In Theatre Association, there are 324.

The Northfield Drive-In Theatre is the only drive-in in the country to be located in two states: Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It's one of the few drive-ins to be featured in a major studio film, Cider House Rules. On Oct. 31, 1998, Miramax Films shot three scenes of the Oscar-nominated film at the drive-in with Charlize Theron and Tobey Maguire.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates