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Holly Theatre in Medford marks 90 years with 'year-long' celebration

The historic Holly Theatre turns 90 this weekend as renovations continue on the venerable venue.

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 2:31 PM
Updated: Sep 2, 2020 2:42 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — The Holly Theatre in Medford turns 90 years old this weekend, and the owners have decided to mark the occasion with a"year-long party" in the old venue's honor.

A major renovation of the Holly Theatre officially began in February of 2019 as members of the community set out to revitalize the historic building.

According to the current owners, construction began on the original Holly Theatre just three weeks after the stock market crash that kicked off the Great Depression. When the the theatre opened its doors for the first time in August of 1930, the Holly Theatre was "the most opulent building in the region — arguably a title it still holds 90 years later."

The current effort to restore the Holly Theatre to its former newborn glory intends to stay with the original 1930 look and feel.

"COVID-19 currently precludes in-person events, so a virtual gala, a reverse drive-by parade, and a number of other events are in the planning for the next 12-months to commemorate the theater’s history and celebrate its future as Medford’s largest concert and event venue," the Holly Theatre organization said in a statement.


RELATED: Holly Theatre tops Reddit with some 'dry' marquee humor


The restoration project is expected to wrap up in late 2021, just as the year-long birthday celebration comes to a close. However, supporters are still looking to raise funds in order to complete construction on time.

"A funny kind of magic happens when you restore a theater in a quiet corner of an old downtown," the Holly Theatre organization continued. "As people come to see great music, theater, and art, they also bring money for dinner out and coffee or drinks after and so a renaissance quietly takes place and a thriving and vibrant district takes root where once there were empty storefronts and vacant lots.

"A study by Americans for the Arts shows the Holly will drive more than $3.25 million into the local economy every year it operates, provide 100 jobs in the neighborhood, and drive more than 10,000 additional hotel guests to area lodging — an important factor since the city’s bond payments on the soon-to-be-built aquatic center are to be paid with currently insufficient lodging taxes. The Holly Theatre will not only be a remarkable show palace, but one of the strongest economic catalysts in the Rogue Valley and will open at a time of great need for economic rebuilding following COVID-19."

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