Thursday is opening night for Twilite Drive-In

Owned by the same family for 62 years, the Twilite Drive-In in Wolseley, Sask., always opens the season with a free show. This year they're screening The Little Prince.

Wolseley's drive-in theatre opens April 21, thanks to a warm spring

The Twilite Drive-In in Wolseley, Sask., is set to open the 2016 season Thursday night with a free show.

A warm spring means the Twilite Drive-in theatre in Wolseley, Sask., is opening for business nice and early.

Don Zaba, owner of the Twilite, said they will start the season with a traditional free show, set for Thursday night.

"We have a free show. It's called The Little Prince," Zaba said. "We usually open up with a free picture ... just to kick off the opening of the drive-in."

The free show on Thursday is a warm up for the regular season when shows will screen on weekend nights (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

The drive-In has been in Zaba's family since 1954. Zaba said the business owes its success and longevity to the clientele who make the trip to Wolseley to continue their own family traditions.

"We get a lot of customers that say when they were kids their parents brought them to the drive-in and now that they have children of their own, they want to bring them to the drive-in to experience what they did when they were younger," Zaba said.

"A lot of grandparents, they met their soul mates at the drive-in. So it carries on."

But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the drive-in. Three years ago Zaba's business hit a snag when digital formats replaced  35mm film reels. It called for a big investment to keep the drive-in alive.

"We did a fundraiser in the town of Wolseley which was a success. We ended up buying the projector and a sound system and we're operating today," Zaba said. He noted that the conversion to digital has made a world of difference in the quality of the show.

"There's a huge difference," he said. "The technology of the old film and the old sound is priceless, but now the digital is great. We have surround sound and the picture is different, a very nice picture."

The Twilite features a different movie every weekend. After the opening night free show, the drive-in is showing Zootopia Friday through Sunday.

The start times vary, of course, with the sunset. So, just like you may remember, show times are at dusk.

Wolseley is 100 km east of Regina.

With files from CBC's Eric Anderson