Ribbon cutting ceremony, fun and games, and a great night of movies under the stars.
Please join us for our official grand opening celebration on April 5, 2019. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:15 PM at 3900 South Hydraulic Avenue, Wichita, KS 67216, and will include a ribbon cutting presentation with owner, Blake Smith; City of Wichita Mayor, Jeff Longwell; and District 3 City Councilman, James Clendenin as well as other VIP guests, including donors who helped save the Starlite.
The night will begin with many activities including the City of Wichita Parks and Recreation, Recreation Station. Lawn games, t-shirt cannon, various photo opportunities and other surprises will be offered throughout the evening. The Starlite will be showing Shazam with Captain Marvel at 8:20 PM on Star One and Dumbo with Wonder Park beginning at 8:10 PM on Star Two. Box offices will open approximately 6:45 PM and standard admission rates apply ($7 ages 12 and up; $3 ages 3-11; ages two and under free). The first 250 cars will receive a free Starlite Drive-In keychain.
About the Starlite Drive-In
The Starlite Drive-In opened as the Rainbow Drive-In on October 1, 1953, showing Fort Defiance starring Dane Clark. The single screen theatre had a capacity for 600 cars and was operated by Mrs. T.H. Slothower. In 1974, it was renamed Landmark Drive-In by an ownership group led by Jim and Gary Quick. A second screen was added in 1979, and it became the Landmark Twin Drive-In with a capacity of 1,300 cars. In 1998, it was renamed Starlite Drive-In by then owner, Jim Goble of Denver, Colorado. Sadly, in 2015 both Jim Quick and Jim Goble passed away. The Starlite was operated from 2016-2018 by Chuck Bucinski before it was closed and put up for auction.
Shortly after the closure, the community rallied and organized an effort to save the Starlite and prevent it from being sold to highest bidder and torn down. With the hope of finding a suitable owner in time, the City of Wichita stepped in and organized a search for another Drive-In owner interested in purchasing the Starlite. In February 2019, Blake Smith purchased the drive-in, Landmark Commercial Real Estate assisted in the transaction. Smith is also the co-owner of the Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa, OK. The Starlite Drive-In reopened with a soft launch on March 1, 2019, under the management of Beth (Quick) Defenbaugh. Smith’s intention with purchasing the Starlite Drive-In is to preserve the long standing drive-in theatre tradition in Wichita, while improving the guest experience at Starlite and ensuring it can successfully operate for years to come.
The Starlite Drive-In is a historic drive-in movie theatre located at the intersection of Hydraulic Avenue and MacArthur Road in Wichita, Kansas.