Eastern Iowa Drive-In Theatre Owner Celebrates 50 Years
One man has meant an awful lot to eastern Iowa movie lovers over the last half-century. Last night, one of his longtime businesses was celebrated.
Dennis Voy has owned the 61 Drive-In Theatre near Delmar in Clinton County since the spring of 1972. If you're a moviegoer and feel that last name seems very familiar, you're right.
The year after the 61 Drive-In Theatre first welcomed cars, Voy opened a movie theater a few miles to the north in Maquoketa. Known as Voy Theatres, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports they'll celebrate their 50th birthday next year.
Now, back to the 61 Drive-In Theatre. Dennis and his granddaughter Sara Clasen, with him in the photo at the top of this story, run the 61 Drive-In Theatre these days. Voy, now 83, still owns a Maquoketa radio station and is on the air each day. Each evening, you'll find him at the "61".
I think it's impossible to comprehend the impact that Dennis Voy has had on families in the Maquoketa and Delmar areas. A combined 99 years of ownership of a drive-in and a movie theatre, just 10 miles apart. Imagine the number of people that have driven in or walked into those two businesses over the years. Here's to many more years, Dennis and Sara!
I wanted to end with a little more background on the 61 Drive-In Theatre. It actually opened under different ownership more than 20 years before Voy purchased it. August 11, 1950, was the day and, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, it cost 50 cents to get in that night. Moviegoers that night saw "Rachel and the Stranger" on the outdoor big screen. Here is the opening of the film. As I watched it I couldn't help but think how awesome this must have seemed, nearly 72 years ago.