ABILENE, Texas - The Town and Country Drive-In Theater has struggled to raise enough money to convert from film to the digital projectors required by the movie industry.
Now, theater officials have made enough to make a down payment to get the project underway.
Partner Ray Andress said he's thrilled that they will not have to close their doors.
"It's a part of the Americana that I don't want to see go away," Andress said.
The theater needed $160,000 to convert its projector system. Though theater officials haven't hit the goal amount, the money made thus far will keep it open – for now.
Theater officials are crediting an outpouring of community support for the success.
"I just knew that Abilene wouldn't let it go," said Melissa Green, event planner for The Town and Country Drive-In.
Through volunteering and fundraisers, theater officials earned enough to continue its effort to keep the historical drive-in theater alive.
"We're locally owned and operated. So it really took the community showing their support to show the movie theaters and the movie companies that we matter," said Green.
By summer, The Town and Country will debut the new digital projectors, but Green said the business isn't completely out of the woods.
"Just because we have projectors, doesn't mean we're done," Green said.
The theater still owes up to $20,000, and they need more help to reach that number.
"We need support. We need volunteers, sponsorships, local businesses to help out, families to help out," said Green.
For now, the staff is grateful the city won't have to say goodbye to the nostalgic theater.
"So many people grew up doing to the drive in. It's a dying breed and we're so glad that we'll still have one here in Abilene," Green said.
"The best is yet to come," Andress said.
The Town and Country is planning to hold another fundraiser – a car show – in April.
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the theater's Facebook page.
During the winter, The Town and Country is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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