Thursday night was the first of three nights for a drive-in movie theater in the parking lot of the Cross County Mall in Mattoon. Movies will be shown at 9 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
Organized by sisters Courtney and Kasey Considine, the drive-in had 270 cars attend on the opening night. When they first thought of the idea, the Considine’s said they thought maybe 50 or so cars would attend.
That was before their social media posts began to gain traction.
“The community got really excited,” Courtney Considine said. “Actually our first Facebook post, the next thing we knew it had like 900 shares, and the event had like 1,000 people interested.”
The plan for a drive-in formed early last week and the Considine’s began to contact local sponsors, including KC Summers Auto Group, Rural King, the Mattoon Public Library, Harrelson Plumbing and Heating, the broadcast communication program at Lake Land College and the City of Mattoon.
Keith Summers of KC Summers Auto Group was the first person Courtney Considine called to be a possible sponsor. Once he was on board, Kasey Considine got in touch with Blake Pierce and Lauren Norris at Rural King in Mattoon to set up the parking lot as the location for the drive-in.
“Between Blake and Lauren, they both we like, ‘whatever you need we’ll help out with,’” Kasey Considine said. “It took off from there.”
The library helped obtain the movies that would be shown, which were Thursday’s movie “Toy Story,” Friday’s movie “Remember the Titans” and Saturday’s finale of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
“The Mattoon Public Library, their Friday night movie in the park had to be postponed for now, or canceled for COVID-19,” Courtney Considine said. “So they were looking for something to kind of get involved in, and they knew how to order movies.”
The idea was born over a family discussion at dinner. Courtney and Kasey Considine said that, when they were growing up, their parents were involved with fundraisers and community events, and the family supported their drive-in idea.
“It’s been a whole family effort,” Courtney Considine said. “Our mom has been keeping everyone in line pretty much. Dad was out there helping build the movie screen yesterday, being hands on. And our brother is in charge of all the volunteers and the parking.”
“It’s been a full family affair for sure,” Kasey Considine said.
In addition to the family help, Courtney and Kasey Considine said that the even would have never happened if the community did not support them and help them out.
“We really want to thank all of our sponsors and all of the volunteers and everyone that has helped us out with this,” Kasey Considine said. “It has been, for sure, a community event.”
“It’s unbelievable what a community like this can do when you talk to people,” Courtney Considine said. “No one ever said no to any of our requests or any of our ideas. They were like, “we can do it, I just don’t know how yet. Give me a minute.’ And within a day they were back to us.”
The parking area opens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closes at 8:45 before the 9 p.m. show time. Local vendors are also involved, providing concessions for the attendees.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]