Twelve year-olds Jenna Glass, left and Ellie Schwartz, of Cottage Grove made themselves comfortable on the rooftop on a mini van during the farewell party for Cottage View Drive-In in Cottage Grove Min., Wednesday September 26, 2012. The gates had to be opened early due to the traffic along the frontage road. The first person to wait in line came at noon.

Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Cottage Grove drive-in readies for last picture show

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • September 28, 2012 - 12:03 AM

The Cottage View Drive-In, whose imminent closing will leave the Twin Cities area with just one drive-in movie theater, marked its long run in the east metro Thursday night with a free showing in a nostalgia-filled celebration.

The drive-in along Hwy. 61 in Cottage Grove is making way for a Wal-Mart. The theater's owner said it's too expensive to make the necessary conversion to digital projection.

The theater pulled all the stops to say thank you to a community that has supported the drive-in for nearly 50 years. The featured film was "Grease," a 1950s-themed ode to cars, dating and teenage angst. This is the "sing-along" version of the movie, complete with subtitles.

The theater's final night is Mother Nature's call. It will remain open for weekends as long as the weather holds out and the patrons keep coming.

For nearly a half-century, kids in pajamas have plopped onto blankets at the Cottage View, parents have hauled out lawn chairs, grills and enough beer for a double feature, and couples have found refuge for nuzzling while they ignored the movie flickering in front of them.

The snack bars date to opening day, when the screen showed 1963's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."

Once the Cottage View goes dark, the last remaining drive-in in the metro will be Vali-Hi, along Interstate 94 in Lake Elmo.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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