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It's showtime at Windom's State Theater

The colorful State Theater marquee once again shines in the night following a brief relighting ceremony Friday night in Windom. (BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE_

WINDOM — The Windom State Theater celebrated the restoration of its interior and marquee with a lighting ceremony Friday night.

The marquee was taken down two years ago due to structural concerns. The entire theater was shut down in January 2012 for nine months, but a group of concerned citizens — known as the Windom Theater Inc. — bought the theater last year and took on the task of restoring it to its former glory.

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“I knew it was something I should get involved with and something I wanted to keep doing,” said Buckwheat Johnson, president of the non-profit organization.

While the theater was built in 1914, the marquee was not added until 1937. The group spent more than $25,000 refurbishing and reinstalling it through a grant from the Remick Foundation that aids art projects. The marquee now has 102 upgraded energy efficient light bulbs and LED lighting.

“I’m amazed at the number of people that have stopped and commented on our restoration,” Johnson said. “It’s great to get encouragement from the community — this has been a landmark for 100 years, and downtown isn’t complete without it.”

The group has also cleaned and refurbished the theater by upgrading the bathroom, cleaning and restoring the theater seats as well as upgrading the screens to digital. More work is on the way, Johnson said.

Windom Mayor Corey Maricle also attended the event, giving a speech about the historic landmark and watching the countdown to see the marquee lit anew.

The theater screened the movie “Free Birds,” a Thanksgiving-themed family film, to mark the occasion. It also ran a special that for every three kids, one adult got in free.

“We made the special to encourage people to bring their neighbors and get the whole community involved,” Johnson said.

The restoration of the marquee, Johnson said, serves as a symbol that the Windom State Theater is back in business — and that there will be more renovations to come.

“I just wanted to thank the community for all their support,” he said. “Without them, the theater wouldn’t be running like it is today.”

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester

may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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