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By Haley Chi-Sing
The Outlets at San Clemente is hosting weekly drive-in movie nights for families in and around the San Clemente area. After opening on Sunday, Sept. 13, screening Princess Bride, the drive-in theater has continued to feature films of all genres, ranging from adventure to comedy to beloved classics.
“With everything going on in the world, we wanted to find a way to bring some entertainment to the community, to families, local businesses, where they could get out and do something that was entertaining but still within the guidelines of keeping people safe,” said Kimberley Daskas, marketing director for the Outlets.
Initially inspired by other nearby shopping centers, the Outlets partnered with Starlite Movies and MetroLux Theaters to bring safety-regulated entertainment back to the community. The Drive-In Theater also serves as a means of bringing traffic back to the shops, which have been slowly reopening since the initial lockdown in March.
Most stores are now open following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while most restaurants currently offer outdoor seating for patrons.
The Drive-In Theater will be held every week, running from Wednesday to Sunday, until Nov. 11. The parking area will open at 6 p.m. for those who would like to arrive early, and the movie will promptly start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance via the Outlets website; admission is $35 per car.
The Outlets’ restaurants will also participate by offering guests options for dining before, during, and after the film. There will also be several food trucks and pop-ups sprinkled around the parking area for those who wish to try something new.
Restaurants including Panera Bread, Ruby’s Diner, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and Swirl will feature specials the nights of the Drive-In.
“It gives families the opportunity that, once they’ve parked their car, they can eat it in their car while they watch the movie or dine before the movie and get really good specials on food and treats,” said Daskas.
Along with their Drive-In Theater, the Outlets is planning on continuing community events via its holiday specials. To incorporate safety and health guidelines, the Outlets’ Shopping Extravaganza, as well their Halloween and Christmas specials, will be adjusted slightly but will be held in person.
The annual Shopping Extravaganza, generally held in person over one day, will be spread out over a 30-day period with certain aspects moved online. All Halloween and Christmas activities are currently set to be in person while still maintaining CDC guidelines.
According to Daskas, the Outlets has already set up its Gigantic Jack and will continue arranging other Halloween decorations in the coming weeks. It will also be installing the World’s “Tallest Christmas Tree” before the Christmas holidays.
“We’re working on some fun things for families to come in and have a safe experience,” said Daskas.