After tornado damage, Iowa drive-in movie theater reopens

After tornado damage, Iowa drive-in movie theater reopens
After tornado damage, Iowa drive-in movie theater reopens(MGN)
Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 10:38 AM CDT
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NEWTON, Iowa (KCCI) - The Valle Drive-In movie theater reopened Friday night with a full crowd that included 150 vehicles buying tickets, KCCI reports.

The drive-in was shut down in March following damage from the March 5 tornado outbreak.

“Screen panels flew across the lot,” said Jeff Namminga, one of the co-owners of the drive-in theater. “It ripped all of the poles and wiring out of the ground.”

The tornado also damaged the fencing, the roof of the concession stand, and the marquee.

The owners spent the last five months fixing the drive-in, repairs costing tens of thousands of dollars. Namminga tells KCCI these repairs had to happen and there was never a doubt because they wanted to continue what’s become a tradition for so many caring people.

“Immediately after the storm, the outpouring of support was fantastic,” Namminga said. “Everything from people offering to do GoFundMe pages, to how they can help. We had multiple groups offer to come out and help with cleanup and things of that nature. So just the true Midwestern spirit show up.”

Opening night was filled with people coming out with lawn chairs, setting up, playing games, and just happily being around each other as they waited for the movies to begin.

The Valle showed a double feature Friday night: The new Tom Cruise movie, “Top Gun Maverick” and ironically, “Twister,” which was filmed here in Iowa in the 1990s.

Getting the theater back up and running was always the goal because, to the team, it’s more than a business.

“I love what the drive-in does. The drive-in seems to kind of slow people down,” Namminga said. “It brings joy.”

Saturday and Sunday’s shows are sold out, but tickets for shows after Sunday can be found here.

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