FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Auburn Garrett Drive-In continued fundraising efforts Tuesday after announcing it will not open for the 2023 season on its Facebook page last Thursday. This comes as the owner doesn’t have the money to rebuild the screen after storms ripped it apart last August.
Julie Yarde, owner of the Auburn Garrett Drive-In, said the amount needed to rebuild the screen keeps changing because the design-build is complicated, and the new drawings for the structures change the price.
“For instance, I have the calculations for just the base. I got those yesterday finally, they’re 25 pages long,” Yarde said.
Yarde said about $24,000 has been raised, but believes they need at least $80,000 more. She said she’s seen comments from people who think she’s taking the money for personal gain and states that’s not true.
“I could have easily not done this. I could have sold the land. I could have closed the drive-in down for forever. But I love the drive-in and I think it’s really important for the community to help back me up on this. And it’s very important that we get it back and we’re going to get it back,” Yarde said.
Kevin Casselman is the owner of Blue Moon, an ice cream parlor just down the road from the drive-in. He said he’d like to see the drive-in come back.
“We would love to have the drive-in come back. And the community has supported it to the efforts to try to get it to come back. Into and to rebuild it. Unfortunately, we’ve come a little short,” Casselman said.
Casselman said Blue Moon and the Auburn Garrett Drive-In have worked well being so close in proximity to each other because usually, the public would stop by to get their ice cream and food, and then head to the drive-in.
“And it’s a great joint effort between the both of us that that we can serve the community like we do, and we’ve been very fortunate that they the community has backed us so much,” Casselman said.
After one successful fundraising car show this month, Yarde said there will be another car show at the Auburn Garrett Drive-In on Saturday, Sept. 16 called the Fort Wayne American Mafia Car Show.
It will be hosted by Holden Eldridge and Cole Carper, and all proceeds will go to the Auburn Garrett Drive-In. Each vehicle entrance will cost $20, and guests without a vehicle participating will need to pay $10 to enter. Doors will open at 10 a.m., and registration will remain open until 1 p.m.
Yarde said she wants to thank everyone who has offered their support and donated so far.
“It touches my heart,” Yarde said. “I don’t like asking people for money, and I’m not normally the person to ask for help. I’m the one that would prefer to give help. But in this situation, this is for the community, I’m rebuilding it for the community. It’s not to line my pockets or anything like that. Because like I said, I am only the owner. I am not the operator. And I just feel it’s a necessary historic site that just needs to stay within the community.”