‘There’s no other drive-in theater like this in the country’: Starlite supporters come together


Since word got out that Starlite Drive-In may be no more in Wichita, hundreds of citizens have signed petitions to save it. To continue that momentum, many supporters gathered in town today, rallying to save the drive-in.

Dozens of supporters were carrying signs saying ‘save our Starlite.’ Those supporters hope this shows the owner and whoever is trying to purchase it, that many in the community want the drive-in, to stay.

More than 200 citizens gathered in a park Saturday next to the landmark they say, has to stay.

“Keep doing all we can and save the drive-in,” said one supporter.

“We can’t lose the memories, but we are losing something potentially that is so valuable for our kids,” said another supporter.

“These two who spent all of their childhoods going up to the drive-in two sometimes three times a month,” said another supporter.

Wichita’s Starlite Drive-In closed last month, and ever since, people have been encouraging the legacy drive-in, to not close. Rick Cohen, a drive-in owner from New York interested in purchasing and saving Starlite, flew in early Saturday to show his support.

“There’s no other drive-in theater like this in the country, it’s just designed, engineered and built to the highest standards in the drive in industry,” said Rick Cohen, New York drive-in owner.

Many supporters shared memories from the drive-in, like first dates, movie nights with the kids, and introducing the movie experience, with generations of family.

“I’ve been bringing my kids, here since he was born, he’s eight,” said Jeremy Hoepmer, Wichita.

“I come here with my future husband, we got married, we came here we bring our kids, now they’re adults and they come with their friends,” said Kathy Vestering, Wichita.

There’s an auction for Starlite coming up on November 13, it’s a sale, this group hopes, will be canceled.

“We’re hoping that they decide that its best for Wichita to sell to Rick and keep it open,” said 
Ryan Dean, rally organizer.

The daughter of a previous owner of this drive-in was also at the rally and expressed how her father and others would not want to see it close.

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