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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Drive in, chill out, catch a flick

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Elijah Standefer, 6, sits on the roof of the family van and watches a free movie in the parking lot of Aloha Stadium.

Photos by NORMAN SHAPIRO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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What: Drive-in movie night

Where: Aloha Stadium parking lot

Admission: Free

Next event: Fourth of July weekend

More information: www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Cousins Austin Auwae, 11, and Kamalani Letuli-Gonzalez, 11, play Mancala as they wait for the free movie. Two large sections of astroturf were set up in front of the screen for people to watch the movie.

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It wasn't difficult for Alana Reeve to recall the fun and camaraderie of her old drive-in days last night, not as she and a van full of pals hunkered down for a flashback evening of cinema under the stars at Aloha Stadium.

"I used to go to all of the drive-ins Kam, Kailua, Wai'alae," said Reeve, 60, of Waikīkī.

"I remember just being there with friends, pot lucks. It was like watching a movie with your family in the living room but a really big family."

That same family feeling was present last night as Reeve and hundreds of others took their spots in the stadium parking lot for a free drive-in screening of "The Blind Side."

The screening, the second of its kind this year, was sponsored by Aloha Stadium concessionaire Centerplate, and the local Fun Flicks Outdoor Movies franchise operated by Leslie and Sal Hernandez.

They have said that they would like to continue the screenings to provide low-cost entertainment to local families and to bring back a "drive-in feel" to the stadium. The film was shown on a giant inflatable screen, with sound provided by loudspeaker and radio transmission.

Moviegoers had their choice of sitting up close on two large patches of artificial turf or setting up camp in their vehicles. With temperatures dipping into the 60s, most opted for the latter.

Reeve and friends supplemented concession popcorn and saimin with fare from the nearby McDonald's. Others set out expansive spreads of spam musubi, kalua pig, hot dogs, burgers and other tailgate treats.

"Instead of staying home doing the same old thing, we figured we'd come out and try something different," said Richard Pagan, 35, of 'Ewa. "I figure we come, check out the experience and if it's good, we'll come back next time."

Pagan arrived with a small convoy of family, friends and neighbors and an abundant supply of beach chairs, blankets and snacks.

Picosa Singleman, 29, of Salt Lake said she was saddened by the closing of the old Kam Drive-In more than a decade ago and excited to be able to share the drive-in experience with her 2-year-old son Malachi.

"I remember being with family, sitting in the back of the truck, tailgating, and no need worry about the kids screaming," she said. "I'm glad they've started this up again."

Steve and Karen Mason of Ala Moana took advantage of the clear skies to take the top down on their BMW convertible .

"We didn't even know what the movie was until we got here," said Steve Mason, 55.

"We kind of grew up with it when we were little," Mason said. "Mom and Dad would take everybody to the Disney movies, and it was cheap because back then you worried about a budget. We used our pajamas. I guess our parents hoped that when we got back we'd be ready for bed."

U'ilani Sakai, 28, drove in from Wai'anae with her parents, nieces and nephews.

"It's good for the family and it'll be the first time at a drive-in for the kids," she said. "I was surprised that it was free."

The screenings will go on hiatus while the 50th State Fair takes over the lot but are expected to resume on the Fourth of July weekend.