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The Sound Side Film Festival at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue raised funds for CAST in 2020. (Credit: Daniel Leinweber, Razberry Photography)

The resurgence of drive-in movies in 2020 may have been born of social-distancing necessity, but it looks like the trend may park itself and stick around for 2021 and beyond. The Drive-In Thursdays movie series hosted by Community Action Southold Town, Inc. (CAST) proved so popular last summer that the charity has decided to make the fundraiser an annual event.

“Obviously with the pandemic, we were looking for creative fundraising ideas, and this is an old-fashioned, safe and fun way for a family to enjoy a summer evening,” said Cathy Demeroto, CAST’s executive director. “They can have a picnic and set up their lawn chairs.”

This summer’s family-friendly movie series will be held the first Thursday of each month at Peconic Bay Vineyards in Cutchogue. It kicks off June 3 with a showing of Marvel’s 2018 megahit “Black Panther” and then follows with showings of the musical “Hairspray” on July 1, Pixar’s “Inside Out” on August 5 and the ’80s classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on September 2.

Demeroto said attendees can expect a few fun extras, including a hairdo contest for “Hairspray” and a pajama night for the kids for “Inside Out.” Prior to the June movie, attendees will be able to preorder from Claudio’s Pizza and have a hot pie waiting for them when they arrive at the vineyard.

The drive-in series raised $40,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales and concessions last year, with the money going to help low-income residents of the North Fork meet their basic needs. CAST has set the same goal for 2021, reporting that it experienced a five-fold increase in demand for food security programs and emergency assistance services in the past year.

The three presenting sponsors of CAST Drive-In Thursdays are the Charles and Helen Reichert Family Foundation, Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital and American Beech.