How to Rev Up a Hot Summer Night

Story by Jules Torti// Photos by Dean Foster
July 6 2021

Your guide to hosting a private ride-in theatre.

I grew up three tobacco fields behind Brantford’s legendary Sunset Drive-In. With binoculars, I could zero in on the grainy screen and enjoy silent movies from our front step. Our family also went as frequently as we could to the drive-in, entertained by the dancing hot dog snack reel at intermission — and by couples not-so-secretly making out. The garbled audio receiver that my dad hung from the window of our Cutlass Supreme seems prehistoric in an era where you can simply tune into a FM channel.

One summer, my siblings and I were amazed to see a motorcycle rumble into the drive-in. How cool, we collectively thought, as we sat in the stuffy confines of our car with an obstructed backseat view. A motorcycle seemed like the ultimate way to take in a blockbuster en plein air.

Why not create a throw-back experience and organize a “ride-in theatre” for your crew before fall’s crisper nights take hold? Skip those pesky honking horns and headlight disturbances altogether with this fool-proof plan.

Considerations for Hosting a Ride-in Theatre

The starry sky is the limit on investing in home theatre equipment. Options range from basic white bedsheet backdrops to inflatable widescreens to 100-inch projector screens with all-weather speakers or Bluetooth-enabled devices. You can use the wall of your garage or order a 13’ by 8’ screen that takes five minutes to blow up, and folds up just as quickly.

The Double Feature

While hot dogs and butter-laden popcorn are synonymous with outdoor theatre outings, you can elevate your guest offerings to something more sophisticated. Let the show begin before dark with a beer can chicken menu. Machinist Tom Mueller of Aurora, Ont., is the founder of Tom’s Ridickulous Things, which sells beer can chicken stands in the shape of — you guessed it — motorcycles. His custom Flaming Biker Chick stand comes in two patriotic versions: ‘Merica and La Canuck. For bikers using a generic stand to barbecue a chicken, Tom’s stands are a necessary upgrade! Bonus: the product includes a free pair of sunglasses — for the chicken, of course!

The perfect pairing for this chic chicken on a hog would be Blue Elephant Artisan Brew House’s Outlawger Pale Lager, from Simcoe, Ont. Outlawger was originally released three years ago, to celebrate the revered Friday the 13th. Brew master Sarah Fritch groomed the original recipe into a more palatable session pale lager, while brew master partner Craig Watkins designed the collectible can which features a fierce elephant in the saddle. It’s now part of the Brew House’s flagship line.

Don’t let the chicken enjoy all the beer — this unfiltered golden lager is bright with citrus notes and balanced hops. And if you’re roaring down Highway 24 to Port Dover on Friday the 13th this August, or any old Friday for that matter, every good biker will find kinship with this celebratory lager.
And if you do accidentally drink all the beer, your beer can chicken can also be made using cider, wine, broth or even root beer…

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