Heartland drive-in theater battling new technology to stay open - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland drive-in theater battling new technology to stay open

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PIEDMONT, MO (KFVS) -

“Tailgates down, lawn chairs in the back, blankets on the ground in front of their vehicles, lawn chairs lined up between vehicles.”

That's how Pine Hill Drive-In owner Kimberly Uhl describes the scene on warm summer nights at the show. 

“It’s nice," Uhl said. "I love seeing all the cars come out here. I love seeing them just roll in.”

Uhl says more than 300 people pack into the small outdoor theater to watch the start on the screen meet the stars in the sky. 

“All the smiling faces, all the kids running to the snow cone stand,” Uhl said. 

However, unless Uhl and the rest of the staff can come up with $80,000, this little theater's lights could go out. 

“If I don’t get a digital projection system, I’m going to have to shut my doors,” Uhl said. 

The old 35 millimeter projector system has been in place for years, but now all theaters must upgrade to digital. Uhl says the new systems are much smaller and simpler to use. 

“It would be better all the way around,” Uhl said. 

Since the new systems are so expensive, it's possible that the box office at Pine Hill will be closed to good. 

“The community doesn’t want the doors shut," Uhl said. "They love their drive in here in Piedmont.”

Pine Hill is a part of a nationwide contest that, if they win, would award them a brand new system free-of-charge. Uhl says they're competing with more than 300 drive-ins across the nations. 

“I’m going to do everything in my power to try to keep it open for the community,” Uhl said. 

If you'd like to help the Pine Hill drive-in say open, you can vote online daily at this website. You can also text "VOTE44" to the number "444999" every day. 

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