Coming soon? Free drive-in movies at Jersey Shore park
OCEAN TOWNSHIP (Monmouth) — Another town has announced plans to open a "pop up drive-in" and the mayor is optimistic Gov. Phil Murphy will give his blessing to it and other similar facilities.
Mayor Christopher P. Siciliano told New Jersey 101.5 he ran the idea for movie screenings at Joe Palaia Park by a staffer in Murphy's office who thought it was a great idea. He then began putting together plans with A&S Sound, a company that has provided sound for other township events.
"It's a way to relieve lockdown anxiety," Siciliano said.
Municipal parks were unaffected by an executive order closing golf courses and state and county parks.
A Facebook post with a date got a lot more attention, including from other groups that wanted to operate drive-in type facilities, including the Delsea Drive-In in Vineland, the state's only full drive in.
The governor's office got back in touch and asked him to hold off, Siciliano said. But he is confident that it will be allowed to operate along with the Delsea.
The mayor said he is was at the park on Thursday mapping out the site for the screenigs.
At the end of his daily news briefing on Thursday, the governor said there will be "a significant amount of guidance in the next five to seven days" about summer business and activities.
"We are looking at a lot of things you’ve asked us about, whether it's beaches, non-essential retail or whatever it may be. And there's a lot of different considerations and a lot of steps that we are looking at," Murphy said.
Siciliano said once he gets the OK, a date will be announced for a free screening of a "family movie" at the band shell at the park. He expects to do two screenings with a movie appropriate for young children like "Moana" or "Frozen 2."
"I'm relying on the PTA to help pick out some movies," Siciliano said, noting he doesn't have any young children.
A hundred cars would be allowed to the screening at sundown with a sign-up sheet to insure a managable crowd size. The mayor anticipates the drive-in being added to the township's summer programs and he might bring in food trucks for future screenings.
The Delsea Drive-In is awaiting a clarification of the order and is working with state Sen. Michael Testa, R-Cape May.
Jude DeLeonardis told New Jersey 101.5 that if she and her husband can't open the Delsea by Memorial Day weekend, they won't generate enough revenue this year to pay the mortgage in July. They have submitted a plan that would encourage social distancing by using their app for purchasing tickets, food and beverages.
Jackson officials announced plans for pop-up drive-in to be run by Back to the Movies Drive-Ins, which would charge $20-$25 per carload. No opening date has been set.
Owner PJ Windle told NJ.com that a semi-permanent pop-up drive-in may also open at the Oak Tree Lodge in Wall.
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