Chamber honors Becky's Drive In as N. Lehigh Business of the Month
TIMES NEWS file photo Becky's Drive-In, located along Route 248 in Walnutport, has been selected as Business of the Month by the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce.
It's been one of the area's premier entertainment destinations for as long as anyone can remember.
After all this time, Becky's Drive In, Inc. at 4548 Lehigh Drive, along Route 248 in Walnutport, shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Much to its enchantment, the drive in has been selected as Business of the Month by the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce.
Mary Mayberry, president, Becky's Drive In, said the family is "honored" by the distinction.
"I see it as a tribute to the hard work of our dedicated employees who give up their summer weekends to help make Becky's a success," Mayberry said. "So, I guess as a family, we are all thrilled having been selected as the business of the month, as the drive-in is our labor of love."
Mayberry said business has been great when the weather has cooperated, and added that the drive-in had several sold out weekends on both fields this summer.
For the first time ever, the drive-in has been given Disney movies to show first run, she said. Previously, they had to wait until they went into second run to show them, Mayberry said.
"Local people, as well as those from as distant as Philadelphia and New York, still enjoy the drive-in experience and are willing to drive a distance for that experience," she said. "Without our patrons, we would also not be in existence, and we are extremely grateful for their patronage."
Mayberry said the business moved into a new concession stand three weeks ago, and added that "each week seems to run smoother than the last."
"As the summer progresses, we hope to have it down to a science," she said. "We do know that we are able to service the crowd a bit more quickly than we did in the old stand."
In the meantime, Mayberry said the old stand is now the place to purchase funnel cakes, popcorn and other quick snacks, along with sodas. While popcorn is sold at the new concession stand, the ever popular funnel cake is sold only in the old stand, she said.
"Over the years, we have grown to be more than a drive-in," she said. "People generally come early on a weekend night so they can get the best possible spot to watch the movie."
In addition, Mayberry said the drive-in offers a variety of activities for children, such a ride on its trackless fire engine around its grounds; a jump in its Moon Bounce; pony rides; a playground with swings; a pirate ship; and seesaws.
Depending on what's showing on the screen, there may be a strange character or two roaming the grounds, said Mayberry, who added that on some nights, a DJ plays a variety of music prior to the start of the movies, and other times there are story tellers or face painting.
Becky's offers two movie screens - the second of which was opened in 2005 - showing double features on both screens. It is open from April through Sept., weekends from April to mid-June, and the month of Sept, and open every night, from mid-June to August.
Starting at around 7 p.m., the drive-in offers a large selection of food, such as hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken tenders, turkey bar-b-ques, french fries, pierogies, nachos, pop corn, and new this year, shrimp in a basket. On occasion, they also offer pulled pork sandwiches. They also sell candy and a variety of novelty ice cream.
Souvenirs are also available, and consist of frisbees, mini-footballs, mini-soccerballs, Becky's T-shirts, sweatshirts and blankets.
Special events include a Hollingshead Celebration in honor of the anniversary of the opening of the first drive-in in Camden, New Jersey on June 6, 1933 by Richard Hollingshead, with various activities and a super fireworks display by Celebration Fireworks in Emmaus. On Labor Day weekend, the drive-in has a dusk to dawn show, where it plays five movies from dusk to dawn.
For its grand finale, it sponsors the Dream Come True Benefit & Car Show the first Sunday in October. This October will mark the 25th year for the event, which includes an antique and custom car show, flea market, live entertainment, numerous kids activities, and lots of good food. Since 1990, the event has raised over $227,000 for DCT.
Mayberry said some patrons being lawn chairs and radios so that they can sit and watch the movie outside of their cars.
"I'm hoping people continue to enjoy the drive-in experience, and that Becky's continues to be a front runner in the industry," she said. "Thanks to all who make it possible."
Last summer, the theater celebrated its 65th anniversary. The theater was opened by Mayberry's parents, William and Alice Beck. William's nickname was "Becky", hence the name of the movie theater.
William D. Beck started showing movies to the public in 1936 at different locations in Berlinsville. The public sat outside on benches to watch the movies at Uncle Charlie's Restaurant, and also at Minnich's Restaurant in Berlinsville.
In 1939, the first Route 45 Drive-In was located in Berlinsville. Patrons sat in their cars to watch the movies. Admission was .50 a carload.
Then, In 1946, the Route 45 Drive In was relocated to its present location. In the 1970's, the name of the drive in was changed to Becky's Drive In, because the state changed the route number of the highway to Route 248.
Becky passed away in 1987, and wife Alice passed away in 2007. Their children, sons Darrell, Dale, Dennis Beck, and daughters Cindy Deppe and Mayberry, took over the business in 1982. Dale passed away in 1997. Their spouses and children help out as well, plus many loyal employees, with some being employed by Becky's since the 1970's.
For more information, call (610) 767-2249, fax (610) 767-9109, or visit beckysdi.com.