There are 339 drive-in theaters left in the United States. Fort Collins is home to one of them.
The Holiday Twin Drive-In opened in 1971, pressed up against the hillside which leads to Horsetooth, where city lights are rare. On summer evenings, stars are vivid above families, couples and friends who nestle together in cars enjoying a feature presentation the old-fashioned way.
Holiday Twin Drive-In has been in the Web family line since 1979. When Wes Web married Stephanie Caesar in 1997, her two sons and parents were immediately married to the family business.
“Although we were working, and are working, we are together as a family and giving other families the chance to have a great time and also be together,” said Josh Caesar, 20, son to Stephanie Web.
Work at the drive-in is engrained within every childhood memory of Caesar. It was always about the family delivering a great product. At the age of 8 years old, he was serving snacks and extending a helping hand where it was needed.
Working together as a family made them closer. Being able to cater to people on their night off created an all-round happy atmosphere.
The tradition has continued, as Caesar returns every summer to join his mother, stepfather and grandparents to keep the family business alive and running. In 2011, he became a full-time employee during his time off from school at the University of Utah.
“I love coming back,” Caesar said. “Colorado is such a beautiful place, and I really enjoy seeing those who come in enjoying their night off.”
The whole family returns every summer. During the winter months they live in Utah where Stephanie works as a flight attendant.
“When I’m not working I love to travel and I have been very lucky. I have been a flight attendant for over thirty years. I get to fly to Asia a lot,” Stephanie Web said.
Stephanie loves the enriching experiences from travel, but always loves coming back to Colorado because everyone is so happy and the drive-in brings their family together.
“I bought a condo for my parents so they can be back here in the summer with us,” Stephanie Web said.
According to Spencer Adams, CSU senior business and marketing major, the atmosphere is ideal due to the prime location and the friendly environment created by the Holiday Twin Drive-In staff.
“I really enjoy the location … it’s nice that it is a little out of the city and how fun the whole experience is,” Adams said.
Fort Collins’ drive-in prides itself in making the outing affordable and enjoyable. Between 60 to 80 percent of ticket profits must go to the movie companies. Therefore, the majority of the family’s income comes from the family-run snack bar.
“Our popcorn is made from a 1963 gas-fire kettle and you will not find any better popcorn to inhale in all of Fort Collins,” Stephanie Web said.
Popcorn is the top seller from the snack bar, generally accompanied by a large drink.
“The machine needs a little lovin’ from time to time … but it works and it’s so good,” Caesar said.
With 28 employees that keep Holiday Twin Drive-in operating throughout the summer, they always find a way to keep the popcorn popping and give attendees the experience they want.
“I love it here. I work with people that I will have lasting friendships with forever in a great atmosphere,” said Shalyn Ortiz, a international studies junior at CSU.
Ortiz has worked at the drive-in for the last four summers as the experience behind the scenes of the drive-in is unparalleled.
With new investments, which entailed upgrading the projector to digital presentation, Holiday Twin Drive-In is here to stay.
“We recently put in a total of $365,000 to upgrade everything,” Stephanie Web said.
In the past, the family would have to splice sections of video footage together, which is considered more technically advanced, according to Caesar. Today, his job is simply pressing the play button and sometimes fixing sound issues.
“It was a love-hate relationship … but my brother and I used to splice the video segments together which I liked a lot,” Caesar said.
The Web-Caesar family will continue to promise a fun night out all summer long for years to come, as their goal is to make every family moment a cherished one.
“We want it to always be a place to be where loved ones can carve some time out of their schedule and come together to spend sacred time with one another,” Stephanie Web said.
Collegian Staff Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.