The lights will go out at yet another Utah drive-in theater this weekend, the North Star.
Located on the border of Harrisville, Weber County, at 2131 N. U.S. 89, the twin-screen North Star will call it quits Sunday after some 36 years of movies."Parent Trap" and "Mask of Zorro" on screen one and "Dr. Dolittle" and "Armageddon" on screen two will conclude the theater's operations.
Its demise will leave Weber County with just one drive-in theater, the four-screen Motor View in Riverdale. It will also reduce the number of drive-ins left in Utah from 10 to nine.
At one time there were 15 or more drive-ins in Utah. Weber County alone used to have at least four drive-ins during their heyday in the 1960s.
North Star owner Wesley Webb of Salt Lake City said he made a deal to sell the drive-in property last winter after suffering a continual decline in revenues.
He said there were a lot of reasons for the decision - his wife's recent death from cancer, increasing property taxes, higher movie rental prices and fewer patrons.
But surprisingly, this year's attendance is up 20 percent over last year.
"This is the best year I've had in a long time," Webb said. "I kind of wish I hadn't sold it."
Webb has no explanation for this year's increase. There were 11 new indoor movie screens added in north Weber County in the past several years, plus the state's largest theatre, the 14-screen Tinseltown, opened at the Newgate Mall earlier this year.
He believes Tinseltown didn't make a dent in his business.
Billed as "the place to go" the drive-in was for many years surrounded by open fields. Residential and commercial development came ever closer. Last winter, the right offer to buy the property came at the right time, according to Webb.
He said the new land owner plans multiple uses of the property - a little commercial along the highway, mixed with some residential use and some storage sheds on the west side.
Webb bought the theater in 1975 as the third owner. He continued to use Evan Graham and his wife as managers. They wanted to retire a few years ago, so Webb found another manager. He said that was a disaster.
Not everyone can keep a business going smoothly as late as 3 a.m.
He persuaded the Grahams to come back and finish out the North Star's tenure.
"The people in the area have been great and loyal," Webb said.
One woman who came to the drive-in last week cried when she learned it was closing.
As mementos of the theater, the North Star has been selling its old car heaters for $1 each. They haven't been used for many years.
The North Star has also been the only theater around to still use the in-car speaker systems. It also offered FM radio sound in recent years, but Webb feels the speakers may be keepsakes for many people.
Webb said he could never keep his family interested in the drive-in business. However, he still owns three other drive-ins that he plans to keep running.
He still owns the Art City Drive-In in Springville and the Pioneer Twin in Provo. He also owns the Holiday Twin Drive-In in Fort Collins, Colo.