Save Our Strand Gala raises funds for theater

Theater Com­mit­tee have been rais­ing money past three years to up­date the nearly 100- year- old venue

The Hamburg Area Item - - Front Page - ByAnne Ostrowski For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Some­times you have to spend a lit­tle in or­der to save some­thing spe­cial.

That’s just what at­ten­dees did for the Hamburg Strand The­atre at the Save Our Strand Gala, held Oct. 29 at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Tilden Town­ship.

A buf­fet din­ner and auc­tion raised $ 13,000 in the lat­est event to sup­port the Strand’s Cap­i­tal Cam­paign. The high­est bid item, at $ 1,700, was a one- week va­ca­tion pack­age at Bethany Beach, Del., do­nated by Steve Keifer.

More than 90 peo­ple at­tended

the event, which fea­tured food catered by The Westy, an open bar, en­ter­tain­ment by the band Des­per­ado, and auc­tion­eer ser­vices by Tracy Wag­ner of Den­nis Wag­ner Auc­tions. All of the items of­fered for auc­tion were con­trib­uted by lo­cal busi­nesses, mem­bers of the The­atre Com­mit­tee and in­di­vid­u­als. Among the more- than one hun­dred do­nated gifts were a pri­vate fon­due- mak­ing class for six in New York City, a cu­bic zir­co­nia neck­lace do­nated by Mur­phy Jewel­ers, an iPad Air do­nated by

Ge­orge Holmes, and two Tro­phy Club tick­ets to the 2018 U. S. Open Golf Tour­na­ment.

Stephanie Adam, the Strand’s co­or­di­na­tor, said the The­atre Com­mit­tee felt an auc­tion would be a great way to help meet the fundrais­ing goal, and to shine a light on the im­por­tance of keep­ing the theater alive.

“This theater has been here since the 1930s,” Adam said. “Sup­port­ing the Strand and keep­ing it open keeps ac­tiv­ity go­ing in the down­town area.”

Ac­cord­ing to Bethany Sholl, theater man­ager, one of the pur­poses of the Theater Com­mit­tee is to of­fer events other than movies, like plays, bands and birth­day par­ties.

“Our goal is to make the Strand a com­mu­nity hub,” said Sholl, “the place where you go, not just for the mov-ies.”

he Our Town Foun­da­tion ( OTF), which owns the theater on Fourth Street in the bor­ough, and the The- ater Com­mit­tee have been rais­ing money for the past three years to up­date the nearly 100- year- old venue.

“When we started the cam­paign in 2014, our goal was to raise $ 200,000 by the end of 2017,” said Deena Ker­sh­ner, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of OTF. “Be­cause of the money raised at the Gala, we still have ap­prox­i­mately $ 20,000 more to go to reach our cam­paign goal.”

The cam­paign is be­ing greatly helped by an anony­mous donor who of­fered to match, up to $ 25,000, any do­na­tions re­ceived by the end of the year.

Ac­cord­ing to Ker­sh­ner, ev­ery dol­lar raised has gone to make im­prove­ments to the fa­cil­ity. To date, they have pur­chased a dig­i­tal pro­jec­tor, re­fur­bished the mar­quee, built two new bath­rooms on the first level, in­stalled a new roof over the theater and garage, fixed an ex­te­rior wall, added new stage floor­ing and painted the in­te­rior.

Be­cause of the ad­di­tion of the dig­i­tal pro­jec­tor, the Strand is able to present first- run movies, un­like other older the­aters. Re­cent events in­cluded a girls’ night out show­ing of Bad Moms Christ­mas on the day it was re­leased, and the an- nual Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show pre­sen­ta­tion.

Ker­sh­ner added that the money raised by the auc­tion will go to make ad­di­tional im­prove­ments to the in­te­rior of the build­ing.

The Theater Com­mit­tee is still ac­cept­ing mon­e­tary do- na­tions for the Cap­i­tal Cam­paign through the end of the year. In­ter­ested in­di­vid­u­als may make do­na­tions on­line through www. ham­burgstrand. org, at the Our Town Foun­da­tion of­fice on State Street, or at the Hamburg Strand Theater.

ANNE OSTROWSKI — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mem­bers of the Hamburg Strand Theater Com­mit­tee hold items do­nated for auc­tion at the Save Our Strand Gala Oct. 29. Left to right: Clare Benz, Bethany Sholl, Linda Wood, Vree­land Wood, Gerry Schap­pell and Our Town Foun­da­tion Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Deena Ker­sh­ner.

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