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Southern Plains Co-op sponsors free movie night at the Prairie Dog Drive-in

It was another busy season for one of the last drive-in movie theatres in the province.
From left, Janelle, Frances and Ray Boutin at the Prairie Dog Drive-in.

CARLYLE - The Prairie Dog Drive-in teamed up with the Southern Plains Co-op, upon their request, for a free family movie night Sept. 9 as a membership appreciation and recruitment evening.  

All members were treated to a free showing of the popular movie Space Jam and the co-op provided attendees with a large bag of treats to enjoy. 

The event was well attended with close to 50 vehicles coming thru the gate.  The Boutin family was happy to wrap up their 26th season on this evening and see that crowds were again up to encouraging levels this summer.   

"It’s always fun to start it up in the spring and just as much fun to shut her down in the fall," said Ray Boutin. 

The Boutins purchased the business from the original owner-builder Mabel Parobec of Moosomin in 1997. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the drive-in compensated for the shortage of Hollywood product with grad nights, a celebration of life and pre-recorded music nights. Despite powerful winds, the big steel screen measuring 30-foot by 70-foot screen continues to stand firm since its installation in 1980 on a portion of land that was acquired from Bill and Earla Young. 

After over 5,000 hours of film rolled through the original mechanical projector, the current projection system was upgraded to digital in 2012 with a major refit in 2022 of the high-tech light engine. Dale Gudmundson at the Co-operators had the correct insurance policy in place.

"It’s a family affair with Simone booking and advertising the films, Frances and Janelle overseeing and working the concession and Ray operating the projector and manning the gate," the drive-in said in an email to the Observer.