Courtesy of iStock.

With summer in full swing, Jewish pop up drive-in theaters are gaining traction. 

Take a trip back in time beginning this Sunday, June 28, as the Jewish Community Center’s parking lot transforms into The 15 Mile Drive-In Theater, airing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at 9:30 p.m.  

The idea for The 15 Mile Drive-In Theater was created by Jackson Partrich, 19, and Daniel Sternberg, 19, who both reside in Bloomfield Hills and are rising juniors at the University of Michigan. Partrich and Sternberg both have an interest in entrepreneurship and thought a summer drive-in theater was a perfect way to bring the community together. 

Courtesy of The 15 Mile Drive-In Facebook page.

“I started thinking about what people are going to be able to do throughout the summer and I thought about how a lot of movie theaters might remain closed, and I just had the idea of bringing a drive-in theater to West Bloomfield,” Sternberg told the JN. “We wanted to bring the community together and have something to do as a family.” 

Partrich, who is an alumnus of Frankel Jewish Academy, is familiar with the JCC and thought their parking lot would be the perfect spot to host their drive-in theater. The guys reached out to Brian Siegel, CEO of the JCC, who loved the idea and thought that this was a great opportunity to bring a drive-in to West Bloomfield. 

Sternberg and Partrich have partnered with not only the JCC for the event, but also West Bloomfield School District and Fleece and Thank You, an organization that makes and provides fleece blankets to children battling life-threatening illnesses in hospitals. 

Since there is a limit on how many people can gather due to the coronavirus pandemic, tickets are being sold per person, instead of per car. The ticket price for two people is $30, three people is $40 and four or more is $50. You can purchase tickets by heading to their Facebook page or website. 

“There is a person limit that we have to abide by the city and the state government because of the outdoor gathering limit,” Partrich said. “Even though everyone will be in their car and in their designated area, we can only have a certain number of people in the parking lot at once. By selling tickets per person, we can have an exact count of how many people are there.” 

The cars will be parked with ample amount of space between each one to ensure that the theater is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. They will also let you know what FM radio station to tune into to transform your vehicle into your own personal movie theater. 

Proceeds from the drive-in theater will benefit Fleece and Thank You and the JCC. Fleece and Thank You will also be selling their warm blankets at the theater in case you forget your own. 

The movies will be aired on a giant, inflatable 55-foot screen that they are renting from FunFlicks of Michigan, an outdoor movie rental company that features a variety of movie screens for any sized event. The guys have purchased all of the movies on DVD and are obtaining the movie licensing. 

All cars will receive a free bag of popcorn from Detroit Popcorn with a choice of a water or pop. Other snacks and candy will be available for purchase at the theater, including kosher pizza from Jerusalem Pizza and Domino’s Pizza. All snacks orders will be placed by text and then will be delivered to the cars. 

Partrich and Sternberg plan to continue to air movies throughout the summer on Thursday and Saturday nights. They hope to feature a mix of throwback movies, such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and animated movies, such as Frozen or The Incredibles, to bring families together throughout the community. 

“I think it is very important for families to get out of the house, bring their kids out and just have a glimpse of normal life,” Sternberg said. “The drive-in provides a space to distract yourself and put a smile on your family’s faces.” 

JARC Drive-In Fundraiser 

On July 12, JARC, the Metro Detroit non-profit organization that serves individuals with developmental disabilities, is hosting their own drive-in fundraiser at Canterbury Village in Lake Orion. 

The drive-in will feature Despicable Me at 3 p.m. and Groundhog Day at 8 p.m. Prices for entry are $100 for basic entry for one car, $180 including popcorn and a soft drink for one car, and the advanced package for $360 for one car which includes masks, popcorn, soft drinks and candy. 

Canterbury Village Courtesy of JARC

There is also an option for corporate sponsorships, which include early entry and a prime parking spot. Sponsors will also have a video message or a commercial onscreen prior to the movie start, a logo on screen during arrival time and a company logo on every bag of popcorn distributed by JARC at the event.  

All proceeds will benefit JARC’s general expenses including transportation needs, home maintenance, meals for individuals living in JARC homes, staff training and additional support. 

“COVID-19 has presented us with a unique opportunity to create a family-friendly, fun experience for the community to support JARC and those we serve in a safe, socially distanced event,” Shaindle Braunstein, CEO of JARC, said in a press release. 

All participants will receive information prior to the event with details regarding social distancing requirements, a car decal identifying their parking section and the snacks that they purchased depending on their entry.

You can register for this movie screening by following this link.  

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