McHenry Outdoor Theater, the beloved cinematic haven nestled under the starry skies, has exciting news for its dedicated fan base. Owner Scott Dehn has decided to expand the theater's season this year, providing movie enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to experience the magic of the silver screen amid the winter chill.
For years, one of Dehn's favorite tasks has been curating the fall throwback lineup for McHenry Outdoor Theater. However, this year, the joy is amplified as he has extended the theater's calendar by six additional weeks, pushing the closing date to the weekend of December 15-16, 2023.
In response to this exciting announcement, Dehn couldn't contain his enthusiasm, "I can't wait to see how our fans respond to having holiday-season throwbacks to look forward to as well. Going to the Outdoor, visiting with Santa before catching a movie, it'll be a nice addition to driving around looking at Christmas lights."
But you might be wondering if people will brave the colder temperatures to watch movies outdoors. Dehn is optimistic, "I think just the curiosity factor will bring people out. I've never seen a movie in the snow. So that should be cool."
This extension of the season became possible through significant upgrades made to both the concession building and the projector booth during the summer. A partnership with the Bremer Team – Keller Williams Success Realty facilitated the implementation of heating systems in these areas.
"I came up with the extended-season idea last winter, but didn't know if we'd be able to work it into our budget for this year," Dehn explained. The cost of adding heat to the concessions and installing heating and dehumidifying equipment in the booth amounted to approximately $20,000.
The upgrades to the projection booth will ensure that the projector doesn't suffer any damage as the mercury dips below freezing. Dehn likened the projector's sensitivity to that of a boat left out in the cold, where fluids need to be drained and antifreeze added.
"There are red, blue, and yellow liquid crystal vials that add all of the colors you see on the screen," he elaborated. "To be able to stay open late and open earlier in the spring, we had to add climate control."
Traditionally, the theater is open only on Fridays and Saturdays after mid-August. However, this year, there's a special treat for Halloween enthusiasts. On Sunday, October 29th, McHenry Outdoor Theater will host a trunk-or-treat event in the afternoon followed by a double feature of "Casper" and "The Exorcist: Believer," a modern-day sequel to the 1973 horror film. This trunk-or-treat event is sponsored by The Bremer Team.
The theater's November and December lineup has just been unveiled, promising an exciting mix of movies. A full schedule of extended-season events can be found below.
To keep movie-goers warm during the colder months, McHenry Outdoor Theater is offering hot chocolate, hot cider, and newly added branded blankets, in addition to the hoodies already available for purchase.
"In December, guests will be able to get pictures with Santa," Dehn revealed. "There will be some other surprises too. I'm really excited. It will be interesting."
Admission at the McHenry Outdoor Theater is $14 per adult, $8 for children aged 3 to 11, military personnel, and seniors aged 60 and up. Children 2 and younger enjoy free admission. Premier parking in the front two rows is available for $14 per vehicle, and season passes purchased this year remain valid through mid-December.
Don't miss this incredible opportunity to create lasting memories under the stars at McHenry Outdoor Theater this fall and winter. For more information and to check out the complete lineup of extended-season events, please visit the official website at goldenagecinemas.com.