//Night time nostalgia
Hi Way Drive In

Night time nostalgia

Night time Nostalgia

Cody Kimball


Cause baby we’ll be, at the drive-in, in the old man’s Ford…”

Hi Way Drive In
The big screen at the Hi Way Drive In Photo Credit: Cody Kimball

For those of you under the age of 30, you may not know what Poison is referring to in their iconic single “Talk Dirty To Me”, and if you’re in this age group, you may not know who Poison is for that matter. It isn’t your fault, but more importantly, it’s not too late!

The drive-in movie theatre, once a staple of entertainment, is now considered to be a symbol of by-gone days that those old enough to have experienced regularly will likely remember fondly and reminisce about. What was once a popular attraction, the drive-in movie theater is now almost extinct; Almost.

The Hi-Way Drive-In Theatre in Carsonville is alive and kicking to this day, showing movies daily through the summer.

The drive-in works like this; you need a car, or something to sit on, and a radio. The box office, which acts like a toll booth, opens at 7:30 in the evening. When you drive up, let the man know how many people are in the vehicle, provided you are being honest, and not trying to smuggle anyone in.

When you have your tickets, which are typically $7 or less per person, you drive through the gate and select your spot. The spots are rather open, defined only by speaker poles that jut out of the ground. Avoid hitting these pipes with your vehicle.

Selecting a spot is simple, varying on what your needs are for the experience. To best see the screen, park closer to it, or for more privacy, park towards the back of the lot.

The sound quality is uniform, as it is broadcast through an FM radio signal, which can be received through your car radio, or if you choose, battery operated boom-box. Because the movies are double features, the latter may be wiser for those concerned about the wellbeing of their car batteries.

Parking forward or backward is your choice, parking facing the screen allows you to sit inside in the driver’s seat and watch through the windshield, where, depending on the weather or amount of mosquitoes, may be the more enjoyable option. If you do this, it is suggested that you bring something to clean your windshield with. If you have the likes of an SUV or had brought chairs and blankets and would like to lie out, it is just as easy to face backwards and open the back hatch of a vehicle to see the screen.

According to the Drive-In’s website, campers are even welcome on the premises.

The movies start at sundown, and can last into the early hours of the morning.

One of the other advantages to the experience is, as mentioned before, privacy. Unlike an indoor movie theatre, the Drive-In allows you to be separated from the other viewers, allowing for you to make conversation with the others in your group, and to control the climate to your own desires.

And, just like any other movie theatre, there is a concession stand, selling all the popcorn and soda you can handle (if you didn’t bring your own refreshments).

The Hi-Way Drive-In is the oldest operating Drive-in theatre in Michigan and has been running since 1948. It gets new movies (typically ones that have recently left theatres elsewhere) on Fridays, and is an experience that should not be missed.

The Drive-In also has a webpage, with current news, show times, weather reports, a guest book, the full list of the Drive-In’s policies, and even a documentary on the History of the venue.