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Families are encouraged to attend a farewell party for the Cottage View Drive-In at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27. Bulletin file photo

Cottage Grove to celebrate Cottage View Drive-In at Thursday farewell party

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After almost five decades of summer nights under the stars at the Cottage View Drive-In, the city of Cottage Grove will hold a farewell party this week as the classic theater nears its closure.

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The city will host a "Cottage View Celebration" beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 that will feature a showing of "Grease" as a send-off to the theater that is set to close for good in coming weeks. The theater's closure will clear the way for construction of a Walmart Supercenter approved by the city earlier this month.

Gates at the theater will open at 6 p.m. The first 100 cars will receive a free commemorative DVD and the city is encouraging vintage attire.

The Cottage View first opened in August 1966 and has stood for 47 years along East Point Douglas Road near County Highway 19. The drive-in's owner has agreed to sell roughly 24 of the drive-in's 52-acre site to Walmart after Cottage Grove City Council recently approved the discount retailer's plans to construct a 178,000-square-foot store that will open in 2014.

The drive-in is operated by Mann Theatres. Owner Steve Mann said Tuesday that the drive-in will remain open at least through Saturday, Oct. 6. Screenings on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, are possible, he said.

The Thursday farewell will serve as the final celebration of the drive-in, Mann said. Nothing out of the ordinary is planned for the final weekend.

"We'll just run it like we normally would," he said.

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