Watching Stars Under the Stars

The entrance to The Cherry Bowl. We arrived around 9 pm and got a choice spot up front.

The entrance to The Cherry Bowl. We arrived around 9 pm and got a choice spot up front.

Many things are simpler when you head “up north.” This doesn’t exclude movies, where the best way to catch a double feature is under the stars at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In, just a quick 15-miniute drive from The Frankfort House in Honor, Mich.

The Cherry has been a staple around these parts for years and recently was awarded an upgrade to digital projection for being one of the winners of Honda’s nationwide Project Drive-In contest. As the lone remaining drive-in in northern Michigan, it’s definitely a treat to have such a treasure so close to our summer home.

Caitlyn and I took in Jurassic World and Pitch Perfect 2, along with a packed field of Michiganders and visitors taking in the brisk, but calm weather on a clear Thursday night.

The screen and assorted nearby play structures.

The screen and assorted nearby play structures.

Everything about this place screams “adorable,” from the swings up front by the screen, to the mini golf course off to the side and even the program you receive upon entering, which expressly notes swearing will not be tolerated on site (might have broken that rule a few times, but it was in the confines of my car, I swear!). Each movie starts off with a classic Disney short, as well as playing of the U.S. anthem.

It just happened to also be someone’s birthday, so an employee came over the speaker system to encourage everyone to “give her a big Cherry Bowl salute,” to which dozens of cars honked their horns repeatedly. Unfortunately, my birthday is in the dead of winter, so I’ll never be able to experience that serenade for myself.

Mini golf too? I must be in heaven!

Mini golf too? I must be in heaven!

Taking in the audio is pretty straightforward: Either take one of the original speakers off its stand and put on the inside of your car window, or take advantage of the louder and crisper audio via a closed radio station. We tried the speaker for Jurassic World, which was a little on the quiet side, so we opted for the radio station for Pitch Perfect 2. Side note: This was one of the few times we’ve seen a double feature advertised where we actually cared about both movies!

Of course, sitting through a double feature—let alone not getting out until 2:30 am—requires some fuel, and, thankfully, there’s a small concessions shop. We grabbed a big bucket of popcorn for a shade under 5 bucks, as well as additional nom-noms throughout the night. Everyone who comes to the show also gets a raffle ticket for the chance to win free concessions or swag, but, alas, our number was not displayed in the concessions shop. Oh well.

I hope you like Frankie Valli and Elvis Presley ... because you'll hear them a lot before the first show.

I hope you like Frankie Valli and Elvis Presley … because you’ll hear them a lot before the first show.

If the weather’s nice enough, make sure to bring your lawn chairs, or at least a blanket for sleeping in the trunk/hatchback of your car, but be forewarned—mosquitoes can be a problem. We didn’t experience them that much, but we could infer based on the nearby forest and mosquito prevention products advertised on site that they can be troublesome once it’s warm or muggy.

Overall, at $10 a ticket, the price can’t be beat. Toss in affordable concessions and it’s a classic northern Michigan night out under the stars.

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