After a mighty windstorm toppled the iconic Spud Drive-In Theatre in Teton Valley last month, managers announced Monday that supply delays and labor shortages will hinder reconstruction.
“All the supplies and builders are out for about six months,” Manager Jedd Mumm said Monday.
“We’re also still in the process of drafting an engineering plan,” he said. “That’s just where we’re at right now.”
On April 4, the structure that held the movie screen fell eastward with the wooden beams breaking from the cement blocks, cracking and splintering off.
The 70-year-old theater is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Before the storm, the structure still contained the original wood fortified through the years with metal sheets.
“The Spud” has been an important local hangout for decades and a popular stop for tourists taking pictures in front of the giant potato on the back of a 1946 Chevrolet.
After the storm, locals rolled up their sleeves to clean up the wood and metal.
Mumm said the plan is to rebuild the drive-in out of metal. He’s working with the owner, Lenny Zaban, to recreate a structurally sound movie theater that has the same look and feel as the original Spud.
In the meantime, Mumm said he and his family have been grateful for the amount of community support they have received. He added that the insurance is also covering their loss of business while they look to rebuild.
“Everyone is sad, and it was sad for us,” Mumm said. “When I saw that thing down it was heart-wrenching, but we’ll just keep moving forward.”
Depending on how quickly materials and labor become available, he said maybe the theater could reopen this fall.
Regardless, the Spud will likely be playing to a summer crowd next year in 2023.
A Facebook post this week on the Spud’s page reassured fans: “This pains us significantly as we will be missing out on many summertime traditions. We promise when we reopen in 2023, we will throw one of the greatest parties the Teton Valley has ever experienced! Please stay tuned as we take you all along for the adventure of rebuilding!”