entertainment

Tiffin’s historic drive-in theater open for 2018 season

Drive In Neon

Rendering of the proposed restoration of the original neon sign at the Tiffin Drive-In.

Created in the 1920’s, drive-in movie theaters were once a staple of rural communities, counting more than 4,000 theaters nationwide at the height of their popularity in the 1960’s and 70’s. Today, less than 10% of those theaters still exist, and we are fortunate to have one right here in Tiffin, Ohio.

The Tiffin Drive-In Theater opened in 1949 and will celebrate its 70th year in continuous operation next summer. Current owners Rod and Donna Saunders purchased the theater in 2011, when the previous owners decided to retire from the business. The Saunders’ got their start in the drive-in theater business with the original Field of Dreams Drive-In, which they built in the backyard of their family home in Liberty Center as a way to provide an inclusive family entertainment experience, and they were excited at the prospect of expanding this venture.

After purchasing the long-time Tiffin establishment, the Saunders’ immediately set about making improvements to the theater and its grounds, including the purchase of a new projector, the addition of a second screen, updates to the concession stand and its equipment, and the transition from film to digital movies in 2013. In 2018, the name was reverted to Tiffin Drive-In Theater.

Their next big project is restoring the original neon sign. When the theater opened in 1949, it featured a large neon sign affixed to the back of the screen, facing SR 53. The neon was removed in the 1970’s due to maintenance concerns. In 2017, the Saunders’ began working with local neon artist Michael Flechtner to recreate the original neon sign. To this end, the Saunders have created the Historic Drive-In Theater Revitalization Fund, a non-profit organization with IRC Section 501(c)(3) status for the sole purpose of fundraising to repair iconic symbols of operational drive-in theaters in Ohio. Find more information or make a donation here.

39th Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival this weekend

heritage festival brochureBeginning in 1979, the Heritage Festival is the 8th largest in Ohio and is preparing for a great 39th year. Originally a one day event, the festival was an event for the community to celebrate the town’s history by visiting the Seneca County Museum, strolling among craft exhibits, enjoying bands, and eagerly watching to see which ladies dressed in old fashion clothing would win the titles of Miss and Mrs. Heritage Festival. Although times have changed, the event still honors the traditions of the city while including some new attractions September 15th-17th, 2017.

At the Park

The Living Historic Village in Hedges-Boyer Park features reenactments, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and much more for a fun family environment. “Children’s Village Crafts and Games on the Green” are free to all ages, and children under 12 can enter the Village gate for free as well, with adult tickets costing $3. “Candy Cannon Shoot” happen at 12:30pm and 3pm both Saturday and Sunday for children 12 and under, and a “Heritage Cemetery Walk” at the Village Entrance at 6pm Saturday. Be sure to check out the “Heritage Ball” held in the YMCA Fieldhouse Saturday night at 7:30pm, where the whole family can learn dances of the era. Sunday the games continue with a Vintage 1860s Baseball Game at 10am and the Lake Plains Chorus performing at 1pm. Throughout both days live music will play, making any time a great time to stop by!

Downtown

German Heritage Block kicks off downtown Friday night with Richard Wiener 6:30pm-9:30pm in the County Health Department Lot. The Fostoria Community Band will perform the following day 12pm-1pm, followed by a Cream Puff Eating Contest (sign up quick, only the first 6 can compete!). The Toledo Holzhacker Baum will be there 2:30pm-3:30pm as well as 6:30pm-7:30pm on Saturday, with the Route 161 Happy Wanders following 4pm-6pm and again 8pm-10pm. Men and women are encouraged to show off their skills with a Women’s Beer Stein Carrying Contest at 7:30pm on Saturday and a Men’s Beer Stein Holding Contest Sunday at 4pm.

In City Lot 7, New Frontiers: Journey Tribute Band performing Friday from 9pm-12am, and on Saturday, Smalltown Throwdown will perform 6:30-9 pm followed by eighties arena rock tribute band Electrik Circus 9:30pm-12am.

Following the annual parade Saturday, which begins at 10:30am, Elk Lodge 94 is hosting the Kids Korner, filled with free kids events include face painting, sand art, prize giveaways, and crafts, making Saturday’s events fun for all ages.

Also on Saturday, gear up for the 5th Annual Independent Car Show from 12pm-5pm, at the Seneca County Museum. The show will include raffles and drawings to support the museum, as well as the Jolly’s food truck for refreshments. Judging starts at 2pm and plaques will be awarded to winners at 4:30pm.

In the downtown area food will be available all day and rides will run all weekend in the RTA parking lot. Tickets are available at the event and pre-sale tickets can be purchased at Croghan Colonial Bank and Old Fort Bank, 24 tickets for $10 (2-3 needed per ride). For more information visit TiffinFestival.com, a free shuttle is available to the Village and Downtown locations. Come join the community of Tiffin September 15th-17th for the Heritage Festival, where history comes alive!

Other Events

Elks Lodge 94 and Tiffin Eagles 402 will both have beer gardens and live music both night. The Elks will feature Nebdroola Friday and Alternate Ending Saturday night; the Eagles will feature Quickshine on Friday and the Eric Sowers Band on Saturday night.

The Behind the Facade Tour: Riverside Ramble takes place Sunday from 2pm-5pm at Frost Parkway, an exploration of Tiffin’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. More information can be found at TiffinHistoricTrust.org or contacting Vicki Ohl at 419-448-8588.

Museums around town will also be open, including the American Civil War Museum, The Enchanted Moment Doll Museum, Tiffin Art Guild, Seneca County Museum, and Tiffin Glass Museum. Hours can be found on each museum’s website, as well as the Heritage Festival’s site TiffinFestival.com.

View the brochure and schedule of events here.