Here’s good news for people who like to get out to see comedy shows, movies or other live events: You don’t have to come in early this year.

Usually by mid-October, you’d expect to see outdoor entertainment venues closing up for the season. But with the continuing pandemic, not everyone is excited about crowding indoors somewhere for entertainment. So, this year, several outdoor fun spots – including drive-ins and some outdoor comedy series – are staying open through October or even into November.

The classic horror film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at Saco Drive-In Oct. 17, with music provided by James Kennerley playing Portland’s Kotzschmar Organ. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Some indoor options for frivolity will begin opening up soon too, as the state recently loosened restrictions on indoor gatherings at seated establishments like restaurants and bars. As of Oct. 13, the crowd limit for those places expanded from 50 people to 50 percent of capacity, or 100 people, whichever is lower. And indoor bars and tasting rooms are allowed to reopen Nov. 2.

But for those folks who like fresh air with their movies, or comedy, there are plenty of options available for the next month or more, even if that fresh air is a bit nippy.

SPOOKY NIGHTS

The Thompson’s Point entertainment complex in Portland, which usually hosts big outdoor concerts and weddings among its events, started showing outdoor films this year. It’s Moonlight Cinema series will continue through October, with a Halloween/spooky theme. Scheduled films include the wacky ghost story “Beetlejuice” with Michael Keaton this Friday at 6:30 p.m. and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24. Then, for Halloween weekend, the lineup is the witches comedy “Hocus Pocus” on Oct. 29, Stephen King’s “Carrie” on Oct. 30 and King’s “IT” on Oct. 31. People are encouraged to bring their own chairs – and blankets – and the limit is usually about 70 people. People sit on the lawn portion of the Beer Garden behind the Brick South event building, and there’s a bar and snack concessions. Masks are required unless guests are seated in their pod and able to attain 6 feet of social distancing space. Tickets are $8, or $28 for four tickets and a guaranteed fire pit. For more information and tickets, go the Moonlight Cinema listing at eventbrite.com.

The Bridgton Twin Drive-In will continue to light up the night through Nov. 7. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUTUMNAL DRIVE

The Bridgton Twin Drive-In usually stays open weekends until about mid-October, but this year, owner John Tevanian plans to keep the venue open through Nov. 7, which he says will be the latest it has ever been open. Admission is $15 per car and gates open at 6:15.  Some upcoming films, also with a scary theme, include “American Werewolf in London” on Friday and Sunday and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” from Friday through Sunday. Other films scheduled to play at the drive-in the rest of the season are “Hocus Pocus” from Oct. 23-25,  the 2018 version of “Halloween” from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 and “Corpse Bride” on Oct. 31 to Nov. 1. On the final weekend, Nov. 6 and 7, the films will be “Abominable” and “Back to the Future.” The final weekend, as a thank you to customers, prices will be lowered to $5 per car. For more information, go the Bridgton Twin Drive-In Facebook page.

The Prides Corner Drive-In in Westbrook usually tries to stay open until the end of October and will be sticking to that schedule, says manager Jeff Tevanian, brother of the Bridgton drive-in owner. He said that with other entertainment options limited this year, he saw a lot of “new faces” at the drive-in. And with the number of new films severely limited by the pandemic, he’s enjoyed introducing younger audiences to classics like the 1953 “War of the Worlds.” This weekend’s scheduled movie is  “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” which seems to be an outdoor movie staple around here. Admission is $15 per car. For upcoming films and other information, see the Prides Corner Drive-In Facebook page.

The Saco Drive-In has closed its regular operation for the season but will reopen Saturday for an outdoor version of the annual Halloween event featuring Portland’s Kotzschmar Organ. Usually a silent horror film is shown in Merrill Auditorium, with accompaniment from the mighty organ that’s housed there. But, this year, the film, the 1923 classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” will be shown on the drive-in screen. The film will still have the power of the organ; municipal organist James Kennerley is creating an improvised score for the film on the organ at Merrill Auditorium, as he watches it, and then his soundtrack will be played with the movie at the drive-in. Tickets are $15 per car. For tickets and more information, go to the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ website.

Comedian Marcus Cardona will host the fourth Cabin Fever outdoor comedy show at Thompson’s Point in Portland Oct. 23. Photo by Ben Kramer.

FOR LAUGHING OUT LOUD

Usually by October, the weekly comedy show at Stroudwater Distillery in Portland would have moved inside. But this year, the Thursday night show will continue outdoors through the rest of the month. It’s hosted by Maine comedian James Theberge, who performs with fellow Maine comic Ian Stuart and others invited week to week. The guest comics are often from Boston, New York and beyond. To keep the audience warm, Stroudwater has put portlable heaters all around the picnic tables and seating areas. The shows start at 7 p.m., with a capacity of about 40 people, by reservation only. If a show sells out quickly, a second show is sometimes added. Tickets are $10. Masks are required when not seated. For more information and tickets, check out the Stroudwater Fall Comedy Series listing at Eventbrite.

Maine-born comic Marcus Cardona is continuing a series of outdoor comedy shows – called Cabin Fever – that he began organizing at Thompson’s Point in the summer. Cardona had been living and performing in Brooklyn, New York, when the pandemic hit, then came home to Maine. Since so many indoor comedy venues were closed, he started organizing an outdoor show in partnership with Portland’s Empire Comedy Club and recruiting comedians from Maine and around the country. His fourth and latest Cabin Fever show is scheduled for Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. Scheduled performers include Mike Johnson of Maine, Momoh Pujeh and Kara Mia of Philadelphia, Moe Singleton and Niko Pav of New York City, Zach Brazāo and Zenobia Del Mar of Boston and Cardona as host. Tickets are $20. For more information, go to the Cabin Fever listing at Eventbrite.


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