The big screen, the popcorn and the chance to hang-out with friends – that's what Dash Gallant thinks of when he visits Brackley Beach.
"I loved going to the drive-in as a kid."
The 14-year-old has spent many weekends at the Brackley Drive-In to catch whatever movies are playing. The drive-in's owner, Bob Boyle, has since become a family friend, Dash said.
The reason that Dash, with the help of his siblings and his father, Scott, decided to start up his own drive-in theatre this summer is that Boyle encouraged him to give it a shot.
"He's kind of an inspiration for doing this," Scott said.
Dash's Drive-In held its first double feature in the parking lot of the Cavendish Farms Wellness Centre in Montague on July 4. It was, in part, a response to the Mermaid family's travelling carnival business, Atlantic Amusement, taking a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boyle helped them to get started, such as by teaching them how to set up FM radio transmitters and how to attain the copyright for showing movies. Because the family is used to working in multiple towns and cities for Scott's work, Dash decided to make the drive-in portable by projecting onto an inflatable screen, he said.
The drive-in will operate for the season out of Montague every Saturday. As of July 12, it'll start showing movies in Souris every Sunday.
"We're a travelling family," Scott said.
Dash's siblings have been helping with tasks, such as operating the concession stand, while he runs the ticket booth and greets movie-goers. Because of their portable setup, it's a fairly cheap operation, and both towns have been easy to work with as long as they clean up the parking lots afterward.
"They're providing us these areas," Scott said. "They want this in their towns."
Most of the movies Dash shows will have already had their first cycle through theatres by the time he plays them. Securing the copyrights has proven a high expense, and he didn't sell as many tickets on the first weekend as he would have liked. However, he's hoping to turn the drive-in into a sustainable business, he said.
"Chances are we'll (eventually) have to get our own area."
Scott commended his son for the responsibility he's taken on – while it's family-run in that they're all helping out, it's Dash who's in charge, he said.
Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95