Jimmy Buffett in Saco?

drive in

The Saco Drive-In turns into Margaritaville Thursday night. So keep your fins to the the left when cruisin’ down Route 1.

Launching its 75th season with a new digital projector and new era for outdoor entertainment, the iconic theater simulcasts a Jimmy Buffett concert from Texas under the stars.

The live at the drive-in concert series from the Coyote Drive-In puts viewers in a sea of parrotheads because, “you are seeing a show in the same environment that you are in,” said Ry Russell, owner of the Saco Drive-in. “It’s as close as you can get to live.”

But that’s not all. This season Russell adds a tiki bar to his concession offerings.

“For us everything is coming together. The digital projector changed it into an all-around awesome venue,” says the ultra-focused 24 year old who ran a successful campaign last year to keep the popular drive-in alive.


The indefatigable Ry Russell

So besides chicken fingers in paradise, guests can now sip beer and wine at picnic tables surrounded by tiki torches and fireflies. No hard stuff. This is still a family place.

“Moms can have a glass of wine and fathers can have a Bud Light. Kids can have chicken fingers,” said Russell, who plans to sell Maine craft beer too like Baxter Brewing Co. in cans.

The Saco native is aware that being a liquor vendor could get sticky. So the beer garden closes at intermission. “If you want to be rowdy you can go to Old Orchard Beach,” he suggests.

And with the new addition comes a new policy: No more BYOB. “We want to create a controlled environment. We are not on a witch hunt to ruin people’s fun.”

And speaking of fun, laser tag is added two nights a week, more concerts will be live cast this summer and look for events like World Series baseball to be shown on the big screen.

Russell is just getting started.

Next year he wants Buffett to be here live. He is in talks with Alex Gray of Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts, which hosts heavies like Arcade Fire and Willie Nelson at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion this summer.

“By late 2015 we will be holding our own concerts,” said Russell, who is zoned for entertainment and would only need a dance license to pull it off.

“The biggest thing is to get a stage built. My passion for this theater is what drives us to do more and always serve our customers better.”

Tickets for Buffett are $20 per person. Gates open at 6 p.m., show starts at 8:45 p.m.



Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.