FELIKS BANEL

Circus Drive-In finally leaving town?

Nov 9, 2020, 4:26 PM | Updated: 4:51 pm
A colorful sign that once adorned the Circus Drive-In in Anacortes disappeared years ago. (Anacortes Museum) One letter remains on the back of the screen at the Circus Drive-In in Anacortes (Richard Banel) The screen at the Circus Drive-In is remarkably intact; the theatre closed more than 30 years ago. (Richard Banel) Ghost sign remnants on a fence at the Circus Drive-In in Anacortes. (Richard Banel) Demolition appears to be imminent at Anacortes' old Circus Drive-In. (Richard Banel)

The Circus Drive-In, the ruins of which have been a fixture along State Highway 20 east of downtown Anacortes in Skagit County for decades, is apparently finally being torn down.

The theatre closed in the 1980s, and the property has served as a storage lot for RVs and boats for many years. Earlier this year, GoSkagit.com reported that the Swinomish Tribe bought the seven-acre parcel with plans to build affordable housing on the site, which is adjacent to the tribe’s didgwálič Wellness Center.

KIRO Radio reached tribal offices today, but the staff person who answered the phone was not able to confirm that the work underway – which appears to be preparation for demolition of the old drive-in – is related to the tribe’s plans.

Bret Lunsford, director of the Anacortes Museum, says he is eager to collect some tangible reminders of the theatre.

“My feelers sent out for CIRCUS artifacts have so far come to nothing,” Lunsford said in an email on Monday. “I hope something will find its way to the museum eventually under its own power.”

Speeding on Highway 20 past the old drive-in, with its remarkably intact screen, still-standing projection booth and concession stand – and, many years ago, assortment of brightly painted plywood two-dimensional clown heads – was a tradition for many travelers headed to Whidbey Island via Deception Pass, or to the San Juan Islands via the Washington State Ferry Terminal at Anacortes.

You can hear Feliks every Wednesday and Friday morning on Seattle’s Morning News and read more from him here. If you have a story idea, please email Feliks here.

Feliks Banel

Sunken ship Pacific...
Feliks Banel

Sunken ship lost 150 years ago, found off WA coast

The wreck of a sunken ship off the coast of Washington nearly 150 years ago has been found by a pair of maritime historians.
2 days ago
MOHAI...
Feliks Banel

MOHAI celebrates 10 years with a look at Seattle’s complicated recent history

Seattle’s MOHAI is celebrating 10 years at its Lake Union Park home, and to mark the occasion, they’re looking back at the past decade of Seattle history.
4 days ago
Cayuse Five...
Feliks Banel

Whitman Mission attack and the lost graves of the ‘Cayuse Five’

November 29 marks the 170th anniversary of one of the darkest days in Pacific Northwest history.
5 days ago
D.B. Cooper...
Feliks Banel

Previously unpublished photos of D.B. Cooper jet discovered

51 years after the hijacking of a Seattle-bound airliner, previously unknown photographs of D.B. Cooper’s Boeing 727 have been revealed.
11 days ago
frisco effect...
Feliks Banel

Cap Hill, Sodo, T-Town and the ‘Frisco Effect’

Certain Northwest cities and neighborhoods have nicknames that evoke strong feelings but none as strong as the “Frisco Effect” in the city by the bay.
16 days ago
The tail section of the Peninsular Air Transport DC-4 behind the Dearing home in Burien on November...
Feliks Banel

Harrowing Burien airliner crash covered up by time

You wouldn't know anything about it now by observing a typical day at this old family-owned supermarket in Burien.
17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Circus Drive-In finally leaving town?