In focus: The Milky Way Drive-In

Credit: Andrew Feller

Almost every evening since Memorial Day weekend, cars have lined the parking lot the recently renamed Franklin Field – and it’s not for minor league baseball, which has been delayed until July because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The big attraction is The Milky Way Drive-In, a 150-vehicle outdoor cinema that made its summer debut late last month at the Ballpark Commons development.

Its 40-foot LED board screens two to three shows daily from a lineup of more than 30 movies, including classics “Dirty Dancing” and “Grease,” blockbusters like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and a few family favorites with earlier showtimes.

With an array of concessions available for delivery by carhop, the scene is set for the ultimate social distancing activity.

“The drive-in concept is a great way to gradually and safely return to community,” said Mike Zimmerman, chief executive officer of ROC Ventures, developer of the Ballpark Commons mixed-use development and owner of the Milwaukee Milkmen.

The Milkmen opened the drive-in with help from the city of Franklin’s Tourism Commission, and Milwaukee-based Studio Gear as its technology partner. The original plan was screening two movies per day when the Milkmen didn’t have home games through Labor Day weekend.

However, the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball recently announced a modified 60-game schedule that will begin play on July 3 with six teams playing in three hub cities, including Franklin. Under this format, Milkmen Stadium will be the home field for the Milkmen and the Chicago Dogs and will host games six days per week until Sept. 10.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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