The San Diego Padres will use the Lexus Premier Lot (lower right) next to Petco Park for drive-in activities. (Getty Images)

Padres schedule concert, film screenings for parking lot

Petco Park in San Diego is making use of one of its parking lots to host drive-in graduation ceremonies, screenings of the movie “Anchorman” and a concert by Switchfoot, with Hirie doing an acoustic set, and more events in the planning stages.

The home of Major League Baseball’s Padres is one of several venues taking creative approaches to making use of their facilities during the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns of public assembly facilities.

The Miami Dolphins announced plans to use both the inside of Hard Rock Stadium as a drive-in venue for as many as 230 cars, as well an outdoor plaza, for the screening of classic Dolphins games, movies and the hosting of commencement ceremonies and other events.

There will be a touchless food service component in Miami, handled by stadium concessionaire Centerplate. 

In San Diego, county authorities aren’t allowing that aspect to go forward, although some prepackaged snacks and drinks will be included in the cost of admission to the screenings.

All of the events will be done with appropriate distancing and enhanced health and safety protocols in place.

“We do about 300 events per year and that includes all kinds of concerts,” said Padres Vice President of Special Events Jaclyn Lash. “Obviously during this time, without being able to do social gatherings, we were trying to think of new and creative ways to still do events at the ballpark.”

Three high school graduation ceremonies will take place in Petco Park’s Lexus Premier Lot over two days, June 5-6, while two screenings of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” the 2004 comedy set in 1970s San Diego and starring Will Ferrell in the title role, are slated for 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on June 6.

Tickets for “Anchorman” are $45 for preferred parking with a center view and $35 for a general space. As with the concert, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on June 7 and will cost $100 per vehicle, each kept at least nine feet apart occupied by no more than the usual safe traveling capacity, there will be one main, centrally located video screen and two smaller ones to the left and right of the stage, according to Lash.

In addition to parking, the movie cost includes two cinema-style candies (Red Vines, Skittles or M&Ms), two waters and a Padres hat, all delivered by a non-contact method. Non-alcoholic beverages and food can be brought in. 

Net proceeds from the movies and concert will benefit Feeding San Diego. Tickets will be sold through Padres.com/drivein.

Lash said the Padres initiated contact with the high schools as a way of helping students and their families better enjoy one of life’s most important milestones.

The ceremonies will be enhanced with confetti and streamers and will include a live internet feed so people unable to attend can share in the experience, she said. In addition to amplified sound, there will be an FM feed for all of the events, Lash said.

The video screens and sound will be supplied by the Padres usual production partner, Show Imaging Inc.

The movie screening is being done in-house. Lash said the Padres have a good relationship with Paramount, which granted rights to screen the film.

The concert is being promoted by Local Media San Diego, which owns a number of the top radio stations in the market. 

Westward Entertainment is helping on the production side, along with Show Imaging, Lash said.

The Lexus lot usually holds about 500 vehicles, but capacity will be half that so that proper distancing can be maintained.

Other drive-in events are in the works, Lash said.

“We are working with a lot of different people,” she said. “I think we’re first in California to do something like this. We’ve had a lot of interest.” 

Lash said the Padres hope at some point to use their Park at the Park venue to stage events once the authorities give the go-ahead. 

“It’s such a special and unique venue because we can social distance in there,” she said of the space, which opened in May 2019 and has been used for “a few dozen” events. “We can configure it anyway we want. As soon as we get the thumbs up, we plan to use it.”

The Padres invested $700,000 to build a permanent stage in the 3-acre green space behind center field and signed a three-year deal with Sycuan Casino Resort as its presenting sponsor.