Flowers sprouting, longer days, and robins chirping. These are a few of the sure signs of springtime returning in Eastern Iowa. And of course, then comes the announcement we've all been waiting for.

The arrival of the season opening weekend of our favorite area drive-in movie theater, the Highway 61 Drive In near Maquoketa.

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Today, the Highway 61 Drive In Facebook page revealed May 7th and May 8th as this year's season opening weekend. The movies that will be show are still unannounced. In fact, their posting is having some fun, making a quiz out of which movies they mightl be showing on the big screen.

No matter what age you are, there is something quite magical about a drive in theater experience.

As a young kid back in the olden days, some of us remember driving past drive in movies featuring neon lights advertising "big screens", "full concession stands", and "playgrounds for the kids".

We would whimper at the twilight cartoons that we only briefly viewed from the highway as our family station wagon drove past. With 8 kids and one lone income, our dad couldn't afford to take us to the drive in movies, much less out for burgers, fries and shakes. Today it rates as an incredible bargain at the Highway 61 Drive In

It wasn't until I was teenager with my own drivers license and a borrowed car from my brother that I finally had my first drive in experience. The year was 1976 and the first drive in movie I saw was "The  Exorcist". We could hear screams coming from the cars all around us!

Last year the lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus shut down many businesses, but the somehow the Highway 61 Drive In survived. It's one of those things we are thankful for as we come full circle this spring, knowing that there is hope on the horizon.

So mark your calendars and set a date for the return of double-features, popcorn and sodas, outdoor movies and family fun May 7 and 8 at the Highway 61 Drive In.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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