The most popular drive-in in Southern California, Riverside's Van Buren Drive-in Theatre, will open in the daylight next week -- but not for a movie.
The drive-in, 3035 Van Buren Blvd, will unveil a mural commemorating the citrus-growing glory days on its original 1964 façade Wednesday. The mural, designed by David VonDerLinn of Vonderland Studios, shows a sun-lit orange grove, circa 1930s. The drive-in was built on the site of an orange grove.
The vivid 42-by-60-foot mural will definitely be seen by drivers on Van Buren.
"We thought this would be a good way celebrate our 44th year in the same location -- to remind everyone of the citrus heritage in the neighborhood, "said Manager Fred Williams, who has been the drive-in manager for 40 years.
The racy melodrama "The Carpetbaggers" awed Riverside audiences at the sold-out opening in July 1964 and, unlike other drive-ins, the Van Buren has been booming every since, Mr. Williams said.
As part of the celebration, vintage cars will parade to the theatre at 10 a.m., Wednesday, starting from Arlington Park, 3860 Van Buren Boulevard. They will remain at the theatre until 1 p.m. The auto parade, featuring several auto collector societies in the area, is meant to bring back the memory of the drive-in heydays. Everything from a 1913 Model T to'60s Detroit steel will be on display.
"A lot of us remember when the whole family would jump into the car and go to the movies, said Councilmember Chris Mac Arthur, Ward 5, who solicited support from the auto societies. "This mural project reflects our commitment to preserving Riverside's small town feel and citrus heritage."
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