The Strand Theatre’s main theatre was filled with the bright eyes of 6- to 12-year-olds Monday afternoon who eagerly waited to watch “Peter Rabbit.”
The local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization was treated to an afternoon at the movies by the Kiwanis Club of Delaware County Noon Club.
The club worked in conjunction with Performance Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Delaware and Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan to fill the 235 seats of the main theatre for the special showing.
“It was by invitation only for Big Brothers and Big Sisters to come and enjoy a kids movie on a school off day,” said Larry Walters, a member of the Delaware Kiwanis Noon Club. “Because of the sponsorships, we were able to expand it to anybody that is 6 to 12 years old.”
Walters said this was the first time the club had sponsored an event of this type. He said the club reached out to all the Delaware schools in order to fill up the main theatre.
“We hit the reservation limit on Friday afternoon,” he said. “There have been some people that have shown up that didn’t have a reservation, but they’re going to get in because not everyone shows up.”
Walters said if “Peter Rabbit” had not been running, the club would have had to “pay big money” to bring in a kids movie for the event.
“We knew that ‘Peter Rabbit’ might be running three months ago,” he said. “We were very fortunate.”
Walters said the club not only paid for all the seats, but also for popcorn, candy and soda pop for everyone that had reserved a seat.
“It’s kind of a community thing for kids to come to the Strand,” he said. “A ton of folks have never been here before. It’s exposure to the Strand, and it’s good for the kids. The Kiwanis is all about youth, and this is a great program for us.”
Walter said the club is already planning for next year’s afternoon at the movies event. He said the hope is to make it an annual event.
“The Strand has been more than excited about doing this and certainly Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Kiwanis, and the other sponsors. It’s been just great here,” he said. “Next year, we’ll hopefully have more sponsorships and maybe open the other two theatres.”
Probably more excited than the kids was the Strand’s Managing Director Tracey Peyton, because she had a sold-out theatre.
“Two hundred and thirty-five people sold out,” she said. “In the middle of an afternoon on Presidents Day when the kids don’t have school.”
Peyton said the Kiwanis came to her a couple of weeks ago with Big Brothers Big Sisters and wanted to do something special for the kids. She told them about the kids movies that were coming out and “Peter Rabbit was the choice,” she said.
Peyton said she has other events similar to the one Monday that will happen later in the year.
“Lots of SACC (School Age Child Care) programs, daycares and certain schools will come to me like in May,” she said. “We either (show) what we have or we bring one in for them.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.