Drive-in movie theaters have clearly made a comeback. A recent headline declared that the Aut-O-Rama in North Ridgeville was the fifth highest grossing theater in the country one weekend. But, it's not just about the movies. It's about having something to do; somewhere to go that is safe and where social distancing guidelines can easily be maintained.
In fact many of the bustling nights at the Aut-O-Rama were for high school graduations. I know this personally, because that's where my 2020 graduate of St. Joseph Academy's commencement was held. The novelty of watching the individually pre-taped graduation segments, consolidated and united on the big screen in a parking lot full of classmates and families made it pretty special and spectacular. It was the first and only thing that happened to this class that actually exceeded what was supposed to have been.
My daughter proclaimed that her graduation turned out to be much better than what all the previous classes had! We were all so grateful to have had this experience. Watching the ceremony on the big screen, and actually being able to hear and see families cheering for their graduates, and graduates cheering for their friends, provided a much missed feeling of community and togetherness. It felt great!
I imagine that's why our Westlake Senior & Community Center's Drive-in Bingo is so popular.
Yup, Drive-In Bingo!
Twice a month through the summer months we have been hosting this sell-out event in our parking lot. We have parking spaces marked (every other spot), so that seniors all have a view of the action while they tune in and hear the numbers being called over the FM dial.
Staff is on hand to call the numbers and also act as "spotters" and "runners." Spotters are looking for American flags that our seniors wave out their driver's side window, indicating that they have a BINGO. Runners drive golf carts (we are conveniently located on the city-owned Meadowood Golf Course) to the vehicle with the waving flag and after verifying the numbers prizes are delivered.
When applause is called for, everyone honks their horns! One of our participants, who was celebrating her birthday on Bingo Day was honored by a round of beeping and flag waving. It was a sight to see and hear and it delighted her and everyone else.
For more information about our Drive-In Bingo as well as virtual events, visit our web page at www.cityofwestlake.org/community-services, or call us at 440-899-3544.
I am the Director of the Senior and Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.