Field of Dreams

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.

Bo Reid Memorial Baseball Tournament set for this weekend

The 11th Annual Bo Reid Memorial Baseball Tournament will take place this weekend with free events planned Friday, July 24 – Sunday, July 26. This year also features 24 youth baseball teams from Northwest Ohio and special guest, actor and author Dwier Brown.

The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday with Dwier Brown speaking at the Ritz Theatre, followed by a free screening of Field of Dreams, the award-winning baseball film in which Brown plays Kevin Costner’s father. On Saturday at Hedges-Boyer Park, the tournament will begin when Dwier Brown throws out the first pitch at 8:45 a.m. There will also be activities for children and a screening of the film, Mom and Dad Save the World. The tournament resumes Sunday with the championship games and a trophy ceremony.

Dwier Brown will be also be signing copies of his critically acclaimed memoir, “If You Build It… A book about Fathers, Fate and Field of Dreams,” on Friday and Saturday.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Friday – Ritz Theatre

  • 7 p.m. – Dwier Brown
  • 7:30 p.m. – Field of Dreams showing
  • 9 p.m. – Q&A with Dwier Brown

Saturday – Hedges-Boyer Park

  • 8:45 a.m. – First pitch – Dwier Brown
  • 9 a.m. – Tournament begins
  • 10 a.m. – Bouncing inflatables, slides, play area
  • 12 p.m. – Dwier Brown speaks
  • 12:30 p.m. – Mom and Dad Save the World screening

Sunday – Hedges-Boyer Park

  • 9 a.m. – Championship games
  • 7 p.m. – Trophy ceremony

All proceeds from the tournament are to be donated to the Robert ‘Bo’ Reid Memorial Fund, managed by the Tiffin Charitable Foundation, to benefit Tiffin Park and Recreation.