By Karen Wilkinson
Triplicate staff writer
Nightlife in Del Norte County may not be abundant, but it's even harder to come by for those on a tight budget. With a bit of inventiveness along with a positive outlook, though, entertainment on the cheap is available and gratifying. Red's Showcase Theater, one of the longest-standing cinemas in Del Norte County, is one of the hot spots for those with limited cash.
"(Customers) like the prices and a lot of people say they like the small atmosphere, old-fashioned kind of theater and homey feel," said Red's Showcase Theater co-manager Bert Thomas (see photo No. 1 at left).
Tickets for a movie the cinema plays shows about a month after their initial release cost $4 and munchies, such as popcorn, soda and candy, are a bargain.
"We pretty much charge the lowest price we can without losing money," Thomas said. "We don't make a big profit off each item, (but) we don't want to hear people complain about the prices being too high."
The frugally priced theater may not be an option much longer, however, as Thomas said plans to close its doors for cleaning late February may be for good.
"It's been running at a loss for several years," he said.
For those who'd rather watch a flick in the comfort of their own homes, Spotlight Video (see photo No. 2) offers reasonably priced films, video games and snacks to boot.
"(Spotlight Video's) extremely popular," said acting manager Matt Elliott. "I see everyone in town come through these doors."
If feeling antsy and wanting to release some energy, the outdoor options are boundless (see photo No. 3). As Redwood National and State Parks spokesman Rick Nolan says, "With the parks outside people's backdoors, there are great opportunities to do things outdoors for little or no cost."
Whether on foot, bicycle, afloat or with a furry friend, outdoor adventures not only give your body a workout, but help free the mind from everyday worries.
Nolan suggests the Damnation Creek Trail, about 10 miles south of Crescent City just off U.S. Highway 101, as it's "an energetic hike for someone who wants a little more exercise."
If looking for something less intense, he suggests a drive along Howland Hill Road, Stout Grove, or a walk along Pebble Beach Drive (see photo No. 4).
And a trip to the Crescent City Harbor (see photo No. 5) is sure to titillate the senses, as seal and sea lion watching and unloading crab fishermen are "interesting things to watch and enjoy," Nolan said.
And all it costs is "just the cost of turning the engine over in your car," he said.
Another fun venue for those who enjoy competition is Tsunami Lanes (see photo No. 6 below), which offers specials most week nights after 9:30 p.m.
Monday is "dollar bowling," which just means $1 per game and per pair of shoes between 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Tuesday is "buy one, get one free," on both shoes and games during the same time frame.
Wednesday you pay a $5 cover and 25 cents for games and shoes during the same time frame.
Tsunami Lanes general manager John Sousa said Wednesday nights seem to be popular and the crowds range from younger to middle-aged.
"We know it's weekdays, but we have people who enjoy bowling and can go home and sleep more relaxed," he said. "It gets the stress out from the workday."