Strand Call-a-Thon Raises $65,500
Patrons, businesses and friends showed their support for the historic Strand Theatre by making donations and coming out to watch live performances at the first call-a-thon.
After 12 hours of manning phones and live performances from locals, the Earl Smith Strand Theatre raised $65,500 during its First Annual Strand Call-a-thon on Wednesday. That is $15,500 over its goal of $50,000.
"The Strand has become a location for the entire community to get together," Earl Reece, executive director, said.
"It's becoming a place where rather than just a community getting together it's like a family reunion."
An example would be the Great Locomotive Chase during which the Strand had about 500 people from every area of the community represented including the arts, lawyers, civic groups and more.
"It's becoming a place where rather than just a community getting together it's like a family reunion," Reece said. "So many people support and know each other in Marietta. It's wonderful."
When the Strand re-opened in January 2009, its budget was supposed to be $500,000 after five years. After just four years, the theater's operating budget is $800,000.
The Strand brings over 62,000 people to the Square each year. In addition to enjoying an event at the Strand, these 62,000 people frequently visit shops, galleries and places to eat as well.
"I think because we are here people not only want to support our efforts for the Strand but want to get involved as well," Reece said. "They know we are going to do a great job if they come here (to do a performance or host an event), and if it's their first time we are going to want them to come back."
In 2002, a group of community leaders formed The Friends of the Strand as a nonprofit that signed a 50 year lease to operate the theater. A "Save The Strand" campaign began in 2006 and raised more than $3 million in donations. With these donations and a construction loan the Strand re-opened in 2009.
The $65,500 raised from the call-a-thon will go toward the Friends of the Strand’s Capital Campaign, which covers the renovation and construction costs of re-opening the Strand. The theater aims to pay off the remaining $1.6 million construction debt to the Bank of North Georgia before 2014, when the theater's initial rent payments begin.
Local artists who took the stage Wednesday include: Dustin Barclay, Chad Yochum, Travis Cottle, Ron Carter, Daniel Hilton, Allison Michalke, Catherine Rhodes and Andrew Cole, fifth graders from West Side Elementary and more.
The entire Strand facility was open all day for patrons to tour and drop in the auditorium to watch the performances.
Check back and explore the history of the Strand, its impact on Marietta and what's to come at this historic theater.