Hot and heavy at the drive-in

Valerie Herrera, Staff Reporter

The Fiesta Drive-In Theatre is an adult movie theater that was established in the 1980s and is one of the few operating drive-ins showing adult movies in Texas.  It is located in east El Paso on 13800 Montana Ave. and has two motion picture screens with a maximum capacity for 500 cars.

The throw-back themed drive-in is considered a historical landmark that is open year round and screens X-rated films to adult audiences only. With HD-quality movies being shown every night, Fiesta Drive-In doubles as an adult video store and an adult theater.

Lee Wilson, manager of Fiesta Drive-In, said movies are being produced in this industry every day, so their customers can expect to see a new movie aired every night.

According to the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association, during the peak of drive-ins in the late 1950s, there were almost 5,000 drive-ins across the country. Only 368 remain in the United States and decline by two to three per year. However,  Fiesta Drive-In appears to be doing just fine, even gaining an audience.

In 1960, there existed about 20 theaters in the U.S. that showed adult movies exclusively. In the late 1960s and early 1970s they spread to the rest of the country.

Wilson said Fiesta Drive-In is a cinema structure with two large outdoor movie screens, a projection booth and a concession stand.

“We have a large enclosed parking area for automobiles, where customers can view movies from the privacy and comfort of their own cars,” he said.The store area is open every day  seven days a week from noon to 12 a.m., and  airs movies starting at around 9 p.m. Considering the explicit environment of the adult industry, all customers must be 18 and over and follow 21-and-over alcohol consumption laws.

“We do follow strict regulations of the law and ask for identification of all our customers before entering the premises,” Wilson said.

Wilson did not say which movies would be shown on Valentine’s Day, since movies are usually picked to air that same day, but he said Fiesta Drive-In does expect to see a great crowd that night.

Snacks are sold on site, but people are encouraged to bring their own food, drinks and alcohol.

“The theatre is BYOB, meaning bringing your own beer, booze, babe, burger, barbecue, etc,” Wilson said. “Yes we have experienced people bring their own barbeque grills, so it’s however you would like to interpret it.”

According to Federal laws, local governments commonly prohibit adult theaters from operating within a certain distance of residential areas, parks, churches or schools.

Restrictions on adult theaters vary by region and may be restricted by local and state regulations. Often adult theaters have been forced to move to the outskirts of cities in order to protect real estate prices in city centers.

For the patrons, rules are generally less strict regarding activity taking place in their vehicles.

“We don’t really have any regulations with what the customers are doing in their cars considering this is a privately owned business and property as long as they are not bothering other people around them and aren’t doing it outside of their vehicles,” Wilson said.

The company is originally known as a couple’s friendly and full-service adult superstore. They have the largest selection of adult DVDs, sex toys and intimacy items to satisfy everyone’s taste.

Adrian Herrera, senior computer science major, said he was never aware that El Paso had a drive-in theater, but would consider checking it out.

“I’ve been to adult stores before. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a drive-in theater that shows pornography on a big screen,” Herrera said. “It seems kind of weird, but I would probably try it out sometime.”

Wilson said the environment is very friendly and nice. It is a different type of crowd, a more mature crowd who just want to enjoy themselves.

The drive-in is currently going through a construction phase, but renovations are expected to be complete in the next few weeks.

“We have considered changing the name to suit the modernization of the company, but we decided to keep the old name because of its reputation. But many people like to call it, fiesta de l’amour, which is French for fiesta of love,” Wilson said.

Cost of admission is $6 for men and free for females. For more information, call Fiesta Drive-In  at 915-857-0000.

“Whoever presents this article will get free admission to the theater,” Wilson said.

Valerie Herrera may be reached at [email protected]