The First Friday on April 1 will celebrate the Strand Theatre’s upcoming centennial.
“The Strand is doing activities — a raffle, giving away a year of free movies, and a backstage tour of the inside of the theater,” said Frances Jo Hamilton, executive director of Main Street Delaware, the non-profit organization which presents First Fridays. “Main Street, along with the Delaware County Historical Society, we’re putting on the other tours for the night.”
The two 30-minute tours are a “Walk on Sandusky Street,” which goes over downtown history and folklore; and a “Historic Downtown Theater Walking tour” that describes the other theaters that used to grace downtown Delaware. Space is limited for the tours.
Tickets can be purchased at www.mainstreetdelaware.com and the Main Street Delaware office is at 20 E. Winter St.
“For those of you who look forward to seeing your favorite mascots in April, don’t despair,” states the Main Street website. “They will be walking around downtown from 6 to 8 p.m.”
The Strand is a neighbor of Main Street Delaware at 28 E. Winter St.
“It makes a huge impact for us and the other businesses, restaurants and shopping,” Hamilton said of the Strand, which is sponsoring the April First Friday. “I see other downtown cities that don’t have a theater, or if they do, it’s not a first-run. This has outlived the multiplexes that have come in and out of Delaware, an interesting feat.”
Since its opening in 1916, the Strand has grown from one to three screens. In 2002, Ohio Wesleyan University took ownership and created the Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association, the non-profit organization that now owns the theater. It draws 75,000 visitors annually and is open daily.
“It fills that entertainment aspect, and the theater has always been loved by all the families that are so close to home,” Hamilton said. “They can just walk to the theater, see a movie with their little ones, and be out for two hours, instead of four.”
The Strand’s “Century of Cinema Birthday Celebration,” featuring Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” will be presented at 2 p.m. April 10. Admission is $4.50, with concessions specials available. “On this day 100 years ago, the Strand Theatre opened for business, and has been operating ever since,” states the movie theater’s website. “Come celebrate with us on this special day, and enjoy birthday cake while it lasts.”
The Strand will also have a “Family and Community Day” on June 26.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.