Newberg’s 99W drive-in rated best in the nation

The theater has been family-owned for 3 generations

Newberg's 99W drive in movie theater has its original snack bar, built in 1953. (KOIN)

NEWBERG, Ore. (KOIN) — Drive-in movie theaters aren’t as common as they were a few decades ago, but one theater in Oregon is still going strong and getting lots of attention.

The 99 W drive in in Newberg was recently entered into an online contest to decide the best drive-in movie theater in the county. Not only was the 99 W theater in the running, it was rated number 1 by readers of USA TODAY’s 10 Best.

The 99W drive in movie theater was voted best in the nation by a USA TODAY poll. (KOIN)
The 99W drive in movie theater was voted best in the nation by a USA TODAY poll. (KOIN)

The 20 nominees were chosen by a panel of experts and voters chose the top 10. The 10 Best site says competition was fierce between the top 3.

Owner Brian Francis inherited the theater from his grandfather JT Francis, who built it in 1953. Francis told KOIN 6 News 99W is in the national registry of historic places and it still has the original snack bar and speaker boxes.

“People will come in and call it ‘retro,’ which is a little incorrect. It’s actually original,” Francis said. “It’s not recreated 50s, it is from 1953.”

According to the theater’s website, business was great in the 1950s-1970s and then slacked off in the 80s and early 90s. Eventually other drive-ins in the area started shutting down, and in 1994 business was booming once again.

It seems the theater has continued to have steady success over the past 20 years as well. It’s one of the only drive-ins left in the area and has a strong following on Facebook.

“It feels pretty good that the voters put us in that position,” Francis said. He said they get great notoriety and publicity from the win.

From April to October, the theater is open weekend nights for double features beginning at dusk. Francis said the theater has already sold out a number of times this season, which usually doesn’t happen until after Memorial Day weekend.

Francis says folks should be prepared before coming in by reading the rules. Check them out if not for the information, for the wit.

The 99W drive in movie theater was voted best in the nation by a USA TODAY poll. (KOIN)
The 99W drive in movie theater was voted best in the nation by a USA TODAY poll. (KOIN)

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