Bidding a ‘bittersweet’ farewell to Kingston Family FunWorld

Click to play video: 'Kingston Family FunWorld sold'
Kingston Family FunWorld sold
WATCH: Kingston Family FunWorld has been sold and will remain in operation for a few more weeks – Aug 22, 2019

Kingston Family FunWorld, an entertainment staple and Kingston’s only drive-in movie theatre, has been sold along with the land it sits on to a numbered company out of Montreal.

The Wannemacher family, who own and operate the business, are keeping the identity of the buyer private until the deal closes at the end of October.

“It’ll be a bittersweet goodbye” says Trish Wannemacher, whose earliest childhood memories are of the drive-in, which was purchased by her late father, Dan Wannemacher, in the mid 1990s.

“I was two years old counting toonies on the counter in the box office and I’ve been here ever since,” said Wannemacher, laughing.

Three years ago, Dan Wannemacher suddenly died of a heart attack, leaving his family in charge of the business.

Story continues below advertisement

“We did as much as we could and I think we made him very proud, very unexpectedly proud, so I think he’s up there laughing at us that we kept it going this long,” Wannemacher said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

The drive-in theatre has been a Kingston landmark, dating back almost five decades.

Under the Wannemachers’ leadership, a go-kart track, batting cages and mini golf course were added over the years.

It’s a place many people in the region have fond memories of — people like Steve Dolezel, who grew up in Kingston but then moved away.


Upon hearing the news of the business closing, he brought his children to FunWorld for the first and last time.

“It’s sad because I use to come here when I was younger and my parents brought me here and I used to come here with friends,” he recalled.

“I have a lot of great memories from here.”

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: (June, 2019) Coming soon to a High River, Alberta theatre near you: a drive-in

Click to play video: 'Coming soon to a High River theatre near you: a drive-in'
Coming soon to a High River theatre near you: a drive-in

Kingston Family FunWorld currently employs about 35 people, but most of them are seasonal. Some, however, have been with the Wannemacher family for 20 years.

“The best thing for me is knowing how much this place impacted a lot of Kingstonians and I think we’ll always be in peoples’ hearts,” said Wannemacher.

The drive-in movie screen will be in operation until September 1.

The go-karts will be in operation until the end of Septmber, giving the staff and family one month to prep the business for closure.

Sponsored content