weirs beach

Going Local: The Lakes Region

Aug 28, 2018

The Exchange explores the Lakes Region as part of our ongoing series, Going Local

The Lakes Region is a huge tourism draw, featuring outdoor recreation from boating to bike week. Yet the region struggles with maintaining a strong workforce and providing affordable housing for people living and working there year-round.

This show originally aired on August 9th, 2018. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Despite fears that it would close last summer, the Weirs Drive-in Theater in Laconia will kick off its 69th summer of screening movies under the stars this weekend.

The iconic movie theater announced it was closing last year after a buyer expressed interest in developing the property.

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire's highest court will begin hearing the case of three women who are challenging a city ordinance that barred them from going topless at a beach.

Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro are part of the Free the Nipple campaign. They were arrested in 2016 after they took off their tops at a beach in Laconia and refused to put them back on when beachgoers complained.

The women appealed to the state Supreme Court after a district court judge rejected their request to dismiss the case. Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

During its 68-year run, the Weirs Drive-In Theater certainly played its fair share of "Indiana Jones" movies. Real life archeologists are also interested in what may be underneath the iconic outdoor movie theater’s thirteen paved acres.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The iconic Weirs Drive-in Theatre will screen its final movies Monday night, ending a remarkable run for this slice of Americana in Laconia, N.H.

Opening with a single screen in 1949, the Drive-in, after being purchased by the Baldi family in 1974, added three more screens. Today, its 13 acres look a little tired, but every night through the Lakes Region summer, cars and vans and pickup trucks piled with mattresses and blankets fill its parking lot.

One of New Hampshire's last drive-in movie theaters is going to be sold for $2.5 million to a businessman with plans for condominiums and commercial development in its place.

The Laconia Sun reports Patricia Baldi has owned the Weirs drive-In since 1974. She said the land is more valuable than the business, which is open about 12 weeks a year.

Courtroom One Gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Three women ticketed for going topless at a Weirs Beach earlier this year will get a trial after a judge rejected their motion to dismiss the case on Constitutional grounds.

The women argued that their conduct -- topless sunbathing and yoga -- amounted to political speech with artistic value.

photoman82/flickr

The Weirs Beach Drive-In Theater is for sale.

Owner Patricia Baldi tells the Union Leader the 12.6 acres of property is on the market for $2.5 million.

Meanwhile, the theater will still operate this summer, opening this weekend. It opened in 1948 as one of the state’s first drive-in movie theaters.

Baldi says despite the planned sale, the theater is going forward with a major digital upgrade this summer, which had already been in the works.