by Bea Peterson
Duane and Betsy Greenawalt recently announced that Hathaway’s Drive In will open with new digital cinema and sound on Friday, April 25, weather permitting. Duane said, though they had raised more than half of the necessary funds, they anticipated being closed this season and raising the rest of the money through the summer to reopen in 2015. They would not be opening this year without the help of Lynn Caponera from In The Night Kitchen at Scotch Hill Farm in Cambridge, NY. “Lynn contacted us around Thanksgiving time last year and told us she loves drive ins and she wanted to help and she provided a significant portion of the funds required to convert to digital projection.” In return for the financial support the Greenawalts agreed that Hathaway’s would help increase public awareness of the need for hunger relief for children and families in local communities by running on-screen public service announcements promoting awareness for hunger relief. “It is a cause we personally believe in so being a part of it was easy,” said Duane. “In addition we will be asking all movie patrons, if they can, to bring a non-perishable food item to the theatre when they visit. Together we hope to make a tangible impact on hunger relief in our communities while enjoying digital cinema and sound from our equipment.”
The late Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of the children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” and so much more, created The Night Kitchen Farm. Maurice bought the 150 acre Scotch Hill Farm in the 1990s. He was drawn to the area because of the nearby Monks of New Skete with whom he had a long term relationship. Scotch Hill Farm, now owned by Lynn, a long time Sendak companion and assistant, is a working farm that grows and donates food to local food banks and pantries.
Duane said, “It has been a long journey working diligently to accumulate these funds. We owe much gratitude to our loyal patrons, friends, family and well-wishers from across the country. They purchased field speakers, tee shirts, posters, season passes, raffle tickets, film earrings and attended a fall music concert; all to benefit our cause. The recent ‘Night at the Brewvie’s’ event at the Hoosick Falls Armory, which was a collaboration between Brown’s Brewing Company, HAYC3 and Hathaway’s was a tremendous success. Again, a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who supported the effort.”
Duane estimates the upgrade and other improvements will cost over $90,000. “We are still fundraising because there are more improvements we want to make,” he said. Originally the cost was thought to be about $70,000. “When we started tearing out the projection booth we discovered the whole electrical system, meters and panels, has to be upgraded and replaced,” he said. “Fortunately we are beginning to receive some in-kind donations, which are very helpful.” Dave Sutton of Suttonscapes has volunteered to use his equipment to dig the conduit line from the projection booth to the snack bar, for example. Someone else located underground lines as a contribution. Eventually they would like to upgrade the rest rooms as well.
The Greenawalts have so much going on in their lives that they have decided to turn over management of the Drive In to Steve Hansen who formerly operated the Bennington movie complex and, before that, the Bennington Drive In.