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Article on Preserving Americana

June 3rd, 2014
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There is something special about going to a drive-in theater – something nostalgic, something classic. The idea of the drive-in theater started in 1933, though they didn’t gain in popularity until the ‘50s, after World War II. At one point in our history, there were 5,000 drive-ins across the United States. Now there are less than 500. Why the decline? We spoke with Ryan Smith, the owner of the Lubbock Stars & Stripes Drive-In.

Stars & Stripes goes all the way back to 1948 when Ryan’s grandfather started the Sky-Vue Drive-In Theatre in Lamesa, Texas. Ryan was forever changed by his experiences at that drive-in. Stars & Stripes opened in 2003 as a double feature drive-in theater. The popularity of the drive-in was back and another screen was built a few years later. Stars & Stripes even opened a location in New Braunsfels.

The drive-in is a great destination for families, date nights, friend night, or really for anyone. You decide the atmosphere of the night. Stars & Stripes is enjoyed by people young and old because they have the freedom to customize their experience (like sitting inside vs. setting up a lawn chair) all at a great price.

The theater allows you to bring in your own food and drinks, but there’s a ‘50s style diner with excellent food. We recommend the chili cheese hot dog with a chocolate shake. The menu is vast. You have the typical theater food: popcorn, candy, and soda, but you could also chow down on chicken fingers, pizza, Frito pies, hamburgers, and, of course, ice cream.

While Ryan is working on conquering another location in the hill country later this year, he is excited for the future of our Stars & Stripes. The growth in northwest Lubbock generates more traffic on North Slide, which runs along the west side of the drive-in’s property. Be on the lookout for additional seating and a covered patio!

Get to the movie a little early so that you can get the perfect spot right in the middle and a few rows back. Walk over to the park area and let your kiddos burn off some energy before your movie begins. These Lubbock summer evenings are perfect for a night at the drive-in.  The theater is located at 5101 Clovis Hwy. in Lubbock. Visit for show times.

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