GIBSON CITY — With an Internet donation campaign hitting its deadline, the picture for Harvest Moon Drive-In is fading — but not completely dark.
Owner Michael Harroun said Friday that the drive has raised $50,000 of the $120,000 required by a Kickstarter online donation campaign, while time just ran out.
"It doesn't look good for movies here," said Harroun, as he is forced to switch to expensive digital equipment next year — two new projectors — or go out of business.
Distributors will no longer offer movies that run on his 1950s-era projectors.
"I didn't have a choice. Next year, my equipment won't work with the product," said Harroun, who operates the drive-in theater, a Gibson City mainstay, with his family.
Though this weekend is the end of the commercial film season at Harvest Moon, Harroun said, he hasn't given up hope.
"I'll keep it open if I can. I want to keep it open," he said.
"Miracles happen every day. We're just trying to get the word out that a local institution can be saved — it could be one rich person funding the whole thing, or a lot of people giving" $200 or $400.
A wealthy person, Harroun said, could get his or her name right up on the Harvest Moon's marquee.
There are shows at 7 p.m. today and Sunday, and then the season closes, except for a charity showing of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted." That event will be Oct. 5 at the Harvest Moon, 1123 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City.
On Sept. 13, Fuji Film, one of the last and largest makers of 35 mm film stock, announced in a press release that it would halt all production next March.
Benjamin, Michael and William Harroun have run the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Theatre since 1989.
The theater was built in the mid-1950s, at the height of the drive-in craze, but the owners note that it was one of the first in a rural area in the Midwest.