Mansfield, Connecticut has been described as “… one of the prettiest towns in the northeast corner.” It’s also home to the largest drive-in theater in the state. Opened in 1954, the Mansfield Drive-In and Marketplace shows first run double features on three different screens, one being dedicated to family films only. All screens use state-of-the-art digital projectors. Open April into September.
The theater has a capacity for almost a thousand cars. On Wednesdays, admission price is only $20 a carload. And the patrons no longer place a wired speaker on their car windows. The movie’s soundtrack is broadcast on an FM band that the viewers can tune in to on their car or portable radios. There’s even a jump station to charge their car battery if it poops out during the movie.
As I mentioned, the Mansfield Drive-In is family-friendly. When Primary School lets out, it’s open seven days a week until school starts again. There’s a playground for kids located in a grove of trees, open ’til dusk. Some folks move to a different screen after the first movie ends. During intermission there’s a “top-notch” vintage concession stand with everything from burgers to pizza. And “real” popcorn is served.
The Mansfield Drive-In and Marketplace also houses the largest flea market in eastern Connecticut. Open every Sunday, “rain or shine,” until Thanksgiving, it has a 15,000 square foot building and over 300 vendors inside and out. It has everything you can imagine and then some. The Marketplace re-opens in the spring.
Michael Jungden has worked at the drive-in since 1974 and has owned it since 1991. He performs the landscaping and 25 years ago planted every tree that surrounds the grounds.
The Mansfield Drive-In and Marketplace chose Sensible Cinema for their POS software. Each ticket shows all occupants of each vehicle. Printed on the tickets are the radio frequency, concession specials and coming attractions. A box office screen counts the number of vehicles and displays the number of spaces still available. It’s easy to modify the concession menu and has kitchen printer support, including a buzzer that can be heard over the din when a new order comes into the kitchen.