NORTH HOOSICK, N.Y. -- The owner of Hathaway's Drive-In Theater in North Hoosick, N.Y., is pinning its survival on financial support from the community or winning Honda's "Project Drive-In" promotion.
Duane Greenawalt says without it, the theater -- located about 42 miles northwest of Pittsfield -- will close its doors at the end of the season.
Honda's 30-day contest aims to save classic drive-in theaters nationwide by donating digital projectors, valued at around $80,000, to five deserving drive-in theaters. Winners are chosen through a voting process.
After Hollywood moviemakers went all-digital, the special projectors are essential.
"Maybe people don't think I'm serious when I say we will close," said Greenawalt. "But my family and I have discussed this at great length, and we just can't afford to stay open without help. We need to win this."
Throughout the season, Greenawalt has attempted to fundraise himself by selling Hathaway's 65th anniversary T-shirts, speakers, and raffle tickets. However, the financial support hasn't been great enough.
"We do have a handful of really dedicated customers who are constantly donating," said Greenawalt. "But what we've raised so far is no where close to what we need."
Since the contest began on Aug. 9, Greenawalt has been encouraging customers and the community as a whole to cast their vote in support of Hathaway's on the promotion's website. Votes can be cast every day, multiple times per day, according to Greenawalt, as people have the option to vote through Honda's Project Drive-In website or by texting "Vote 12" to 444-999.
"If people don't want to come to the theater and buy a raffle ticket or a shirt, the least they can do is cast a vote," said Greenawalt. "That doesn't cost anything at all. We want to encourage people to vote every single day either by text or online or both."
If Hathaway's is not one of the five theaters chosen to receive a projector, Greenawalt has plans to launch an online fundraising campaign over the winter, in an attempt to raise money for the theater.
Greenawalt and his wife, who both work full-time jobs and operate Hathaway's for enjoyment, say that the prospect of losing such a largely recognized source of entertainment in the community would be sad.
"Going to the drive-in is a different kind of movie experience, beyond just the film itself," Greenawalt said. "It's a community gathering, true entertainment."