by Lindsay Carey
The recent season was a record year for the Southington Drive-in.
Board of Park Commissioners Chair Michael Fasulo shared a comparison report of the Southington Drive-In’s outcome from the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014 at a recent Town Council Meeting.
According to his report, the drive-in’s total revenue was up 46 percent from last year.
“We blew away last year’s numbers,” said Fasulo. “I attribute it to good weather and our over five years learning what to show and what not to show. We’ve learned what packs them in and what doesn’t.”
Without a rainout all season, Fasulo said that last year the Southington Drive In had 3,505 and this year the drive-in had 3,617 cars. He said movies like “Frozen” attracted large crowds.
“The first night we showed “Frozen” we had over 1,000 people walk in and we had 405 cars, which was our max,” said Fasulo. “It was a crazy night.”
The drive-in held two showings of “Frozen” and the second night also brought in a lot of people.
Fasulo also shared that the drive-in profited $27,231 this year, and he said that there are already plans to put the money back into the facility.
“That money doesn’t sit there,” said Fasulo. “We have plans this year, we are buying our own equipment, so we’ve got some big bills coming up.”
Fasulo said that some of the equipment included iPads and some projectors.
However, a large amount of the profit is typically donated to the civic groups that helped run the Drive In throughout the summer.
This year, $22,400 was divided and distributed to those local organizations. Fasulo said that each group would receive about $1,600, an improvement from last year’s donation of $1,250.
The groups that were awarded donations were The American Legion Auxiliary Unit, Bread For Life, Jr. Woman’s Club of Southington, Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, Sorelle d’Italia, the Lions Club, the Mill Foundation, Southington Education Foundation, the Southington Engine Company No. 1, Southington Knights Travel Football, Southington Land Trust, STEPS, and Unico.
According to Fasulo’s report, over the course of five years, the drive-in has donated $73,645 to local organizations.
“It wouldn’t be possible without those organizations,” he said. “They provide a tremendous amount of help every week. They sell popcorn, they park cars and they sell tickets. The reason we’re able to give back to them is because they help us run it and it would not be a success without them.”
Fasulo also mentioned a $2500 donation to L.E.A.F. for the time and materials they contributed to last year’s Halloween Festival.
Dawn Miceli, a Southington Drive-In Committee member and a Town Councilor, announced that, starting this year, the committee will be making an annual donation to “a worthy cause in the community”.
Miceli said that this year the grant will be given to Brilliant Playwrights, a new music-art festival, which will be held on National Trails Day on June 6, 2015.
“We are in the planning stages now,” said Miceli. “This is going to be a community-wide event that our civic organizations will be involved with and our businesses as well; hopefully it will be an economic driver for our community.”
by Lindsay Carey