The Stanislaus County Fairgrounds will soon be welcoming guests once again, but this time for a socially-distant entertainment option — drive-in movies.
Fair management has been working with the owner of The Grand Oak Banquet Hall, Ed Yonan, who is overseeing the opening of the drive-in movie experience.
“We are working to find a way to bring a little bit of entertainment to our community during the continued shutdown and social distancing protocols,” said Matt Cranford, CEO of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. “The Grand Oak, a continued partner of the Fairgrounds, has created a plan that will do just that now and in the future.”
The projected opening of the drive-in movie experience is set for a tentative date of Aug. 20 or 21. The Yonan family anticipates having the drive-in open weekly Thursday through Sunday beginning at sundown for the movie to start. Gates will be open two hours before sundown for guests to park.
“We have been part of the Turlock community for many years and this was a way to give back to our community that we love so much,” said Yonan. “My daughters are managing the project along with me and they remember going to the drive-in movie theaters and bringing that experience back will be a joy to many who are going through a hard time during this pandemic. We are also very lucky to be working so closely with the Fairgrounds officials and making sure we accommodate the guests properly.”
Yonan said there will be food offered from the Grand Oak Chef’s menu, which include items such as tri-tip sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken strips, French fries, popcorn, candy and much more. Drinks will also be available to purchase.
“We are working on an app for guests to order food from their car,” said Yonan. “Once the food order is in, we will text them when it is ready for pick up.”
Tickets will be sold online at the Go Drive-In Turlock website. The website will go live in a couple of weeks for guests to purchase tickets before attending. Ticket prices are still being determined and will be updated on the website. A list of weekly movies will also be provided as it gets closer to the opening on Facebook and Instagram @go_drive_in_turlock. Guests will enter the Grand Oak Banquet Hall parking lot from Soderquist Road and staff will direct cars to park inside the Fairgrounds North Parking lot. Approximately 300 cars will be able to fit the North Parking lot with social distancing procedures in place for all the cars.