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Out of the Past: Reviewed Granada Theater Holds Grand Opening

Article by Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph | August 29, 2021

Visitors gather at the re-opening night of the historical Granada Theater after 40 years on Saturday in Bluefield.

Staff photo by Jessica Nuzzo.

BLUEFIELD —A rejuvenated theater sprang to full life Saturday when cartoons and movies played across its silver screen and the aroma of fresh popcorn filled the lobby.

Years of fundraising, planning and painstaking restoration work bore fruit when the Granada Theater opened its doors on Commerce Street in downtown Bluefield. The theater's day started out with Looney Tune cartoons and "The Lego Movie" for children, but two classic movies were waiting Saturday evening for the grand opening celebration.

The theater employees were making final preparations before the grand opening. For one, the job is a chance to work in a place that fascinated her years ago.

“I'm 35, and I grew up here," Jessica Chamber-Paris of the theater's staff said. "When I went to the library across the street, I would walk by here and peer through the big windows. I love to see something come to life. The energy that went into this building, it gives you goosebumps. Just to see them bring back is amazing.

The theater's rebirth started back in February 2009 after some people decided they wanted to save it. A nine-member board called the Bluefield Preservation Society (BPS) which included Debrah Ammar, Skip Crane, Hal Gusler, Sara Helmandollar, Julie Hurley, Jim Jenks, Doris Sue Kantor, Gail Satterfield and Betsey Sorrell was formed. They then organized a non-profit 501(c) 3 for the restoration project.

Wearing a bow tie and suit reminiscent of theater days gone by, a grinning Skip Crane was running the ticket booth as the time for the evening's double feature - "Red Dust" an "The Maltese Falcon" - approached. Theatergoers were being greeted by the smell of fresh popcorn.

“I'm very excited, very excited," Crane said. "I realize more tonight than ever that dreams do come true.

You can read the full article here: Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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