Pipestem Drive-In celebrates 50 years of movie memories

Last updated: April 22, 2022

In Athens, a small community located in Mercer County, West Virginia, the stars align every weekend at the Pipestem Drive-In Theater. Cars line the lot, families pull out lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for their favorite big-screen flicks. The atmosphere – that combination of nostalgia and family time – is almost magical and hard to find.

Athens is home to one of the last remaining drive-in theaters in the state. Of the 318 drive-in movie theaters remaining in the United States, West Virginia has only five still in operation. The youngest of West Virginia’s remaining drive-ins, the Pipestem Drive-In opened in 1972 and is set to celebrate a huge milestone this year. 

The 2022 season marks the 50th anniversary of the Pipestem Drive-In. This beloved movie-watching experience has been cherished for many generations. In 2006, when the drive-in was on the brink of closing, Mercer County native, Kenneth Woody purchased it in an effort to keep the tradition alive. 

“I used to go there with my parents when I was younger and so I bought it with the community in mind,” says Woody. “It’s a special place in Mercer County and a great experience.” 

Open May through September on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, there is room for 285 cars with sound through speakers or through your car radio. If you sit close to the concession stand, outdoor speakers at the stand are easy to hear as well. It is a throwback to earlier times but with modern conveniences.

One of the best parts of going to the Pipestem Drive-In is the beautiful journey to get there. Home to Concord University, Athens is a trip through the countryside. The scenic two-lane roads pass through farmland and sleepy communities like Speedway. The trip, especially during sunset, will set the mood for a relaxing, summer evening together.

The Pipestem Drive-In attracts guests from all over the region. Many travel several hours to take in a double feature. 

Tickets are only $7 and just $4 for children under 11. Sunday nights are only $14 per carload, so pile in and bring the whole family! Movies begin after dusk. Pipestem Drive-In is located on Hinton Road in Athens, WV.

The 2022 season runs through Labor Day, with special weekend events during Halloween.

Call 304-384-7382 for showtimes.