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Appalachian Theatre hosts open house

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Oct. 3, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 5, 2013
Appalachian Theatre hosts open house

Moviegoers line up outside the Appalachian Theater in downtown Boone to watch the 1947 comedy, ‘Jiggs and Maggie in Society,’ starring Joe Yule and Renie Riano. The names were transposed on the marquee.

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For the first time since 2007, the general public will have a chance to visit Boone’s long-cherished community hub, the Appalachian Theatre on King Street.

From 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, the theater’s doors will open once again for a special open house that will be held in conjunction with the Downtown Boone First Friday Art Crawl.

“It’s not what I would call a fundraiser, but more a ‘friend-raiser,’” said Keith Martin, who serves as the vice chairman of operations and programming committee for the theater’s nonprofit entity. “Not many people have seen the theater since it was deconstructed.”

The open house will serve as a prelude for the theater’s 75th anniversary celebration on Nov. 14. Details of that event will soon be unveiled, Martin said.

In the theater’s current state, Martin said not many of its original patrons would recognize the building, as a previous developer gutted much of its original décor. What remains is the building’s original brick wall and I-beams.

Plans for the future functions of the theater are still being developed, Martin said. As one of the performing arts centers not directly associated with a college or university, Martin said, its possibilities are endless as to what types of performances might be showcased.

Theater archivists will also be in attendance to accept ticket stubs and movie programs to add the theater’s growing collection relics.

The theater originally opened in 1938 and was one of the first in the area to bring stars on the silver screen to northwest North Carolina. The iconic entertainment survived a near catastrophic fire in 1950 and numerous renovations, including the addition of a second screening auditorium in 1981, before closing its doors in 2007.

Although a developer raised the hopes of theater patrons in 2008, renovations never came into fruition, and the building eventually landed in the ownership of the town.

Since then, the town and Downtown Boone Development Association have worked to reopen the theater’s doors. Since then, nonprofit Appalachian Theatre of the High Country has assumed ownership.

While the open house will serve as reminder of the past, Martin said it would also allow visitors to see what the theater can still become.

“We want people to come by and get excited for what the future might hold,” said Martin.

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