Historic Strand Theatre sets Saturday open house

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

[3/10/04]The historic Strand Theatre on Clay Street will host its first public open house Saturday night.

The theater opened in 1934 and closed its doors in 1966 with a showing of “The Great Race,” starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood.

Owner Celeste Tillotson hopes for a big crowd Saturday for a tour of the refurbished movie house, which she hopes to open soon permanently.

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“Everyone in Vicksburg seems to think it’s a great idea, but it can’t happen without money and support from the community,” she said.

Tillotson said she held a private open house in December but didn’t see the number of people for which she’d planned. The invitation-only event included “Friends of the Strand,” who donated $25 to $1,000.

“I really hope by inviting the public we’ll have more interest,” she said.

The open house Saturday will be a “come-and-go” event with popcorn and Coca-Cola provided for guests. An old, family-oriented film will also be shown.

“We don’t know what film yet, but it will be something like Herbie The Love Bug’ or Apple Dumpling Gang,'” she said.

Tillotson’s plans are to have the theater show second-run movies. She also has said the facility will host birthday parties, dance performances and graduation ceremonies.

The Strand building has been vacant since the “The Vanishing Glory,” a movie about the Civil War, moved last spring to a site near the Battlefield Inn on South Frontage Road.