Community celebrates grand opening of Strand Theatre, Encore July 8

Published 3:03 pm Sunday, July 9, 2023

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As the smell of popped popcorn waded in the air, new and old memories were made during the Strand Theatre and Encore grand opening on July 8.

The opening is the culmination of a more-than nine-year project by the Pride of Atmore, a local non-profit organization.

“From the time it (the project) started, it’s been exciting to me,” Mayor Jim Staff said. “It’s made our downtown what it is.”

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Staff recalled memories of when he came to the theatre as a youngster, adding that the project was one of the most fantastic projects in Atmore.

Pride of Atmore Executive Director Foster Kizer said the saving and renovation of the theatre and old hardware store was a community effort.

“This belongs to Atmore,” Kizer said.

During the opening celebration, the Boy Scouts Troop of Atmore presented the American Flag, and Felicia Bishop sang the “National Anthem”.

Additionally, the Railway Arts Guild performed A Vaudeville Act, and Exposé presented a live performance.

Tours were given of the theatre and Encore, and a video message was played.

Then, later Saturday night, the celebration continued in Encore as Southern Approach provided musical entertainment for those attending.

The evening was special for one visitor.

Lucy Waters Cunningham, 94, worked in the theatre’s ticket booth some 80 years ago.

Cunningham, a Daphne resident, said Atmore was a wonderful place to grow up in, and recalled where the old popcorn machine was located.