5 Mile Drive-In offering free entry to first responders on Fourth of July

DOWAGIAC — One Dowagiac business plans to celebrate America’s independence this weekend by giving back.

This Saturday, in celebration of the Fourth of July, 5 Mile Drive-In, 28190 M-152, Dowagiac, will be offering free admission to first responders, including EMTs, firefighters, police officers, paramedics and active-duty military personnel. First responders are asked by the drive-in bring ID or proof of their status to show at the gate.

Sunset Drive-In in Hartford, which shares owners with 5 Mile Drive-In, will also be offering free admission to first responders.

“This is really a celebration for our country and the people who serve it currently,” said Milton Edwards, who runs the drive-ins. “We thought it would be a great thing to give back to them.”

Edwards said he and the rest of the staff at the drive-in often work with first responders to ensure safety at their facilities. Edwards said he has a strong respect for first responders and is grateful for all they do to help the drive-in.

“This is important because, as a business, we rely on [first responders] nonstop,” he said. “We thought it was about time we did something for them. We are just paying it forward.”

Offering free admission to first responders is not the only way 5 Mile Drive-In plans to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. Edwards said the drive-in would be decorated to match the holiday, while also selling glow sticks and allowing customers to bring their own sparklers to encourage a celebration.

Edwards said he hopes that a Fourth of July celebration at the drive will help customers feel a sense of normalcy amid the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that he believes the drive-in a safe place for families as it allows them to social distance while getting out of the house.

“The nice thing about the drive-in is that you can come, keep your distance and still celebrate in a fun way,” Edwards said. “So far, families have really been enjoying it. It’s a great family activity.”

Friday and Saturday, 5 Mile Drive-In will be showing a double feature of “Ghostbusters” and “Jumanji 2.” Gates open at 7 p.m.

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