SAPULPA, Okla. — There’s some new neon along Route 66, this time for a the revival of drive-in theater in Sapulpa.
The TeePee Drive-In sits just off Route 66 near Dewey Avenue. It originally opened in May 1950 with room for 400 cars and just one movie screen, according to the national organization Cinema Treasures.
Over the past 72 years, it has passed through numerous owners but ultimately closed ahead of the 2000 season.
In 2021 Kante Group became the newest owner of the theater, this time hoping to accomplish what others couldn’t and keep the theater alive for good.
The theater’s operation manager met FOX23 out at the drive-in Thursday. She says it was a personal project for the owner.
“Joni (Rogers-Kante) was actually born and raised in Sapulpa and had memories of going to the TeePee drive-in,” Haley Smalley, TeePee Drive-In operations manager, explains. “Just one of those goals in life of seeing it and having memories of it and wanting to bring that back to the city.”
Renovations have been underway since last year, in fact the theater had hoped to open this spring but things got pushed back until spring 2023.
This week, the addition of the neon sign got people talking again though.
The plans are for more than just movies though, with concerts, a playground, concession and alcohol options and even Airbnb Spartan trailers.
“Trying to revitalize it, revitalize the city of Sapulpa, bring it back to a tourist town,” Smalley says looking ahead to opening day.
Smalley says they have already gotten messages from people out-of-state planning an entire road trip down Route 66.
The only other drive-in option in Tulsa County is the Admiral Twin which is still about a 30 minute drive from Sapulpa.
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