Bee Ridge 1 & 2 Drive-In

3920 Bee Ridge Road,
Sarasota, FL 34233

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Bee Ridge 1 & 2 Drive-In

The Bee Ridge Drive-In opened in April of 1969. It was opened by Sydney Shapiro and Theatre Management, Ltd. It was one of the first drive-in theatres to feature individual heating and cooling units for each car. Its parking ramp could park 800 cars and featured a screen size of 120 ft. wide by 50 ft. tall. It was built at a total cost of $400,000. In December of 1969, the Mustang Drive-In, in Pinellas Park installed the same heating and cooling units at a total cost was $70,000.00 for 300 units according to Sydney Shapiro for the Mustang. The Mustang Drive-In is owned by Theatre Management also.

In 1972, Charles Ivestor will take over the operation of the drive-in. Eventually he would operate all the drive-in theatres in the Sarasota area. This included the Trail Drive-In, Bradenton Drive-In, and the Skyway Drive-In in Palmetto, Florida. On July 2, 1974, it reopened as a twined drive-In theatre. He finally closed it February of 1981. Ivester was still operating the Trail Drive-In at that time. When the Trail Drive-In’s wooden screen tower burnt down in January of 1981, Ivester commented he might move the screen tower from the Bee Ridge Drive-In that he just closed, over to the Trail Drive-In. The drive-in was demolished and property was sold for new condominiums.

Contributed by Randy Studer
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