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Historic Gowanda Theater To Hold Celebration

The theater will host WailOn, a Waylon Jennings tribute band, on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater

GOWANDA — One of the staples of the Gowanda community has had a lot of help to get back to what it once was. Now it’s time for those who helped restore it to glory to celebrate all their hard work.

Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater is holding a celebration to thank all its partners in preservation on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 3 to 6 p.m. The celebration will feature live theater organ music and treats from the 1920s and ’30s to commemorate its grand opening in 1926.

Expected guests include Gowanda Mayor Dave Smith, Assemblyman Joe Giglio, a representative of the Governor Kathy Hochul’s office, Cattauragus County Legislators Andy Burr and Richard Klancer along with Erie County Legislators, representatives from Empire State Development, the state Council on the Arts, and the state Office of Historic Preservation, and other guests from private foundations, as well.

Located at 39 W. Main St., Gowanda, the historic theater was first opened in 1926. The theater closed in 1992, but five years later, its revival commenced when the theater received a $100,000 state Environmental Protection Fund grant to fund a two-phase initial restoration effort.

In 2003, Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater Ltd. was created to concentrate solely on the restoration of the historic theater. Then in 2007, the theater received a $500,000 matching EPF grant through the State Historic Preservation Office to continue the restoration of the building. The restoration has continued since then, boosted considerably by the annual Gowanda Harley Happening fundraiser.

“The restoration of the Hollywood Theater back to its 1926 form is emblematic of Gowanda’s restoration as a community,” said Gowanda Mayor Dave Smith. “You can flood us, you can burn us, but we will always come together and rise up to be just as strong as ever. As the mayor there’s nothing I could be more proud of.”

Saturday, Sept. 17, the theater will host WailOn, a Waylon Jennings tribute band featuring music by Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and the Outlaws of Country. The concert is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be available at select locations in Gowanda and on the theater’s website gowandahollywoodtheater.com

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