Saranac Lake Outdoor Movie Night July 27 9:00 pm

Movies Come Back To Berkeley Green

I did not know much about Saranac Lake’s movie theatre history until my husband spoke of going to see a film in Saranac Lake. In addition to Vaudeville shows and Hollywood location shoots, Saranac Lake was once the home to three movie theatres and a drive-in at various times in its vast history.

The Colonial Theatre, once located at 55 Broadway, opened in 1912 with seating for 500. It was later converted to a grocery in the mid 20s with the building eventually demolished in 1974. Community Bank stands in its location now. According to the Historic Saranac Lake Wiki page, the Pontiac Theatre was built at 13 Broadway in 1917 and at one time housed the largest movie screen in Northern New York. The Pontiac burned in 1978 and is currently a parking lot.  The Berkeley Theatre opened in the late 80s near the old Pontiac site and operated until the year 2000 in the basement of Corvo Restaurant, which is now Bear Essentials Apparel.
The Sara-Placid Drive-In opened in 1950 and held its last show the summer of 1970. Located between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, the drive-in had the capacity to hold 300 cars. The drive-in and surrounding lands were sold to the DEC.  

The mini history lesson does serve a purpose. Downtown Saranac Lake will be hosting its second outdoor movie this Friday, July 27, at Berkeley Green. Yes, bringing movies back to the same location that had housed the Pontiac and Berkeley theatres. The June turnout for “The Wizard of Oz” was so successful that movie night is back for July. Starting at 9 pm the Downtown Saranac Lake organization will provide a free showing of the PG rated Steven Spielberg directed film, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial.  

Unlike the Pontiac and Berkeley theatres, this movie will require participants to bring blankets and chairs, though the tiered park does provide the perfect small stadium setting. The screen will be set up in the gazebo with plenty of places to sit along the wall and grassy areas. Popcorn and drinks will be available for purchase. Any proceeds from the Downtown Saranac Lake merchandise continue to support future events.  Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™.
 © Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Jay/Upper Jay, Wilmington, Keene/Keene Valley which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


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