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The first ever drive-in movie night Saturday at the Fallon County Fairgrounds turned into a free Christmas double feature, thanks to local sponsors and predicted high winds Sunday.

It was a success, according to Shyla Hadley, the manager at the fairgrounds. “It went really well. It was well received throughout the community.”

However, it was weather predictions of strong wind gusts Sunday which turned the event into a Saturday night double feature showing Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, she explained.

“We had to cut it a day short because of weather, but we were just happy we were able to at least have one night of it,” Hadley said. “We showed both movies on Saturday. So, nobody missed out and we got to play both of them.

The event drew more than 70 cars. “We had sponsors pull through and decided to pay everybody’s way in. So, it was free admission and was a pretty cool Christmas gift,” she said, noting that Griffith Excavating and Prairie Rose Classics paid the admission.

There may be more drive in nights in the future, Hadley said. “It is not really a Christmas-specific thing. We definitely would like to do it again someday or sometime.”

COVID-19 played a role in planning for the drive in night. “The reason that we did it for Christmas this year was so that people could be in their cars and be COVID-19 safe.

“It would be fun to have a more put together event when COVID is all over … and have food vendors, popcorn and all that fun stuff,” she added.

“We definitely can’t do it once a month, but we certainly would like to do it again,” she said.

In order to show the movies, the fairgrounds had to purchase the rights and follow certain restrictions regarding advertising in local media. “We were only able to advertise social media and by flyers because they don’t allow us to use pay radio or newspaper advertising.

The community can find out about future movie nights by following the fairgrounds’ Facebook page, she explained.

Each time the fairgrounds has a movie night they will have to meet certain restrictions as well as arrange for the showing. “We have to rent out the projector and the screen and have a company that runs those. There is the movie licensing. It is quite the process, but it was a lot of fun so we’d like to do it again.”

The sound was provided by a short-range signal fed to the nearby cars and trucks, she explained. “The company that rented the screen and the projector take over the radio... so it was all in one.”

It was the wind gusts predicted for Sunday which created the double feature for the Saturday night showing. “They (predicted wind gusts) lessened on Saturday, but not on Sunday.”

According to the company, the predicted wind gusts for Sunday exceeded their limits. “The company said they could handle wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour,” she explained.

The fairgrounds had announced a $10 admission fee per vehicle before the sponsors paid all admissions.

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