Sunset Ellis Drive-in opens gates for its 72nd season


SHINNSTON, W.Va. – The historic Sunset Ellis Drive-in Theater on Route 19 near Shinnston opened its gates to the public Thursday evening, kicking off its 72nd season.

The drive-in had to push back its opening day due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite some rain showers, people drove up, parked their cars and enjoyed what the drive-in had to offer.

Currently, the drive-in is open on Thursday through Sunday featuring two movies a night.

The drive-in opened a smaller concession stand that has two separate windows and is located beside the existing concession stand. Also, officials brought in a box food truck to ease congestion and help to serve all the movie-goers.

“The owner Anthony Ellis contacted me and said due to the fact that theaters aren’t open right now he expected an influx of people, and not sure that his concession area would be able to keep up with demand of the people. So, he asked if we wouldn’t mind bringing our food truck up and helping him assist the customers,” said Brian Coleman, owner of Heavenly Hoagies.

The Sunset Ellis Drive-in first opened its doors in 1947 and is one of only six drive-ins within the Mountain State.

“The humbling things about it is that we hear so many great stories about the drive-in. It gives families the great opportunity to come together to relax, you know, to leave the worries at the gate and come in and have a little elbow room and just, you know, think about nothing else but a fun time at the drive-in,” said Antoinette Ellis-Casto, daughter of owner Anthony Ellis.

Movies aren’t the only events that the drive-in offers. On Saturday, June 13, the drive in is set to host a live concert featuring the Davisson Brothers Band. Also, the theater is hoping to host some other events at the drive-in the near future and will make those announcements as soon as possible.

To learn more about showings, concessions and other events, head over to the drive-in’s website.

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