As the sun sets on the former 112 Drive-In screen, volunteers dressed in bear costumes stroll amid moviegoers as they wait in line for beer, beignets and barbeque. Cheers erupt as founder Tim League and developers Chris Akbari and Dave Anderson take the stage to announce their project, The Aronson, which will house residential homes, an eight-screen indoor theater and the Alamo Drafthouse’s first drive-in screen. As the screen lights up, people retreat to their cars to watch “Cocaine Bear,” the first movie screening at the company’s first Drive-in, set to open in 2024.
“We are so glad to have y’all out here to see the big fun that is the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and drive-in that is coming next year,” developer Dave Anderson told the crowd. “It's all part of The Aronson, and there's lots more to be told about that, but every inch of this place is inspired by cinema and it's going to be a blockbuster of a neighborhood.”
The screening of “Cocaine Bear” was an exclusive event that featured drinks from Fossil Cove Brewing, food from T-Boys BBQ and Meaux beignets, and it was sponsored by Liquid Death Mountain Water. A stuffed bear was on-site for photographs and many employees were seen dressed in bear suits and 1980s-inspired outfits. All of this was done to showcase what movie experiences will look like at the Alamo Drafthouse drive-in, founder Tim League said.
The Aronson will also offer high-quality food and beverages that lean heavily on local companies and are a step up from the traditional movie theater popcorn and nachos, League said. It will also feature a cocktail bar and outdoor beer garden that will provide guests with a view of the drive-in screen.
Logan Vanwinkle, a Fayetteville native, said the 112 Drive In has always been a big part of her life, so she was distraught to see it close in the fall of 2022. Amid mixed feelings about the plans to transform the land into a residential area, she is glad that the drive-in screen will remain in action, she said.
“I have been coming to this drive-in since I was 5 years old, so I have a lot of memories here,” Vanwinkle said.
The 112 Drive In was chosen as the location of Alamo Drafthouse’s first ever drive-in theater because it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine the nostalgia of a cherished local establishment with the modernity of an Alamo, League said.
“It seemed like the right thing to do to preserve the legacy of the 112,” League said. “Because that was the parcel of land that was purchased for this development, the folks that are running the development are very keen to preserve this legacy, so kudos for them.”
Sarah Bunch is another Fayetteville native who was in attendance for the celebratory screening and has kept up with the progress of Alamo’s renovation plans. Bunch said she was a frequent customer of the 112 Drive In and plans to return to the location when the new theater opens.
“I’m excited for what’s going to happen here because it looks really good,” Bunch said. “I've seen some of the drawings of what it will look like, and it looks fantastic.”
Alamo makes an effort to show all types of movies, including blockbusters, independent films, foreign films and family programs, League said. Before and during every movie screening, there will be themed activities and a carefully curated pre-show that is related to the film.
“We want to be a community theater by making what's great about this available for the community and by getting involved,” League said.
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