“At the end of the day we just want everyone to have fun,” said Kevin Pacheco, general manager of Vivid Entertainment Productions, the force behind the Falmouth Drive-In, which will present is debut feature, a screening of “Toy Story 4” on Saturday at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds.
The movie will be preceded by a performance by the Toe Jam Puppet Band.
The locally based Vivid Event Productions is a turn-key production company that handles everything from charity and corporate events to concerts and weddings. “We can put a whole production together from sound and lighting to full-scale management out the door,” said business manager Palmer Egan.
With the cancellation of events both large and small due to the pandemic, the two colleagues said they went looking for new ways to engage with the community. “We have all these cool toys,” said Mr. Pacheco, referring to the sound equipment, lighting, video and other special effects the company has at their disposal. “We started thinking about how we could put everything together to create a family-safe environment and also a venue that we can all share and enjoy.”
Mr. Pacheco’s 4-year-old daughter was also a driving force behind the idea for the drive-in. “Being stuck at home for months and not even being able to go to the playground was hard,” said Mr. Pacheco, “especially knowing that we had the equipment and ability within our warehouse to pull something off, so we started searching for a partner.”
“We’re really happy to be partnering with the fairgrounds,” Mr. Pacheco said. “They know how to run their events. We’re benefiting greatly from using their resources, whether it’s the trash cans or the concrete blocks, there’s definitely a lot of infrastructure that we were able to combine and use here.”
The venue, which is located at one end of the fairgrounds abutting the midway area and accessible from Currier Road, will accommodate just over 200 cars. “We initially had proposed 12 feet of space between vehicles,” said Mr. Pacheco, “but we played around with it. We sat out there with our cars and we ended up making it a little bigger, so everyone feels safe and comfortable.”
“We thought it would be a fun thing for the community,” said Mr. Egan. “We also though we could bring in some local musicians as well as some larger acts.”
Mr. Pacheco described a typical evening as starting with cars being able to arrive at 6 PM. People will be able to sit outside their cars if they want. Each car will have a designated parking space, marked out at 14 feet wide by 20 feet deep.
“We’re doing all single rows, so there won’t be another vehicle in front of you or behind you for 20 feet,” said Mr. Pacheco. “Everything will be one way, so hopefully there will be no confusion. People can unpack their lawn chairs and set up their own spot. There’s no congregating with other cars; we can’t go visit our neighbors. Also, no pets will be allowed.”
At 7 PM a local act will perform. “A singer/songwriter, comedian, magician—whatever act it may be for that particular event that marries into the movie so we’ll also have a theme,” said Mr. Pacheco. “If we’re having a comedy we might try to get a comedian to come and share some laughs and get everyone warmed up.”
The featured movie will start at dusk and things will be wrapped up by 11 PM.
For movies, groups can tune in on their car radio and there will also be audio playback outside.
The movie will have an intermission with typical concessions for sale.
Mr. Egan and Mr. Pacheco also hope to bring in concerts and for those they will have a full public address system. “We’ll have lights and a sound system; the quality will be the same as a professional venue,” said Mr. Egan. “Because we’re a production company, things that would normally cost other promoters and arm and a leg we’ve got in our warehouse.”
Costs for movie nights will be $40 for a carload of up to four people and $10 for each additional person. When the venue rolls out concerts, prices will fluctuate.
Shows can go on even on rainy nights. “You just have to stay in your car,” said Mr. Egan, “which isn’t as fun, but at least you still have an option of something to do. I think we’re set up for a great night of entertainment.”
With opening night on the first of August, Mr. Pacheco and Mr. Egan hope to keep operations going through the fall. “Our plan is to stay open through fall, especially for the locals,” said Mr. Egan, adding that if the events create a little more revenue for the community, attracting people to go out for dinner for example, and then see a show, then it would be a win/win.
“We’re all local,” said Mr. Pacheco, who lives in Sandwich. “So many families have nothing to do. We’ll see how it all goes. We’re hoping for good turnouts and for everybody to be open to it. This is a new concept and like everyone we’re trying new things and we’re going to do our best to keep everything safe and affordable. We welcome suggestions, any sponsorships, or any ideas to help us all grow and achieve with this new venue concept that has been popping up all over the company.”
“We’ll tread lightly and work with the community to see what’s allowed, and not just what’s allowed but what’s right and what feels good,” he said. “I’m sure there will be lots of feedback. We’re going to try our best to roll with the punches and do what’s right for everyone. We’re excited about it. We think we’re going to come out of the box in really good shape. It’s all about making people happy and being good to your neighbor. In this climate it’s easy for everybody to be negative. We’re staying positive.”
A full schedule of events at the Falmouth Drive-In will be released shortly.