There is big news regarding this year’s annual Sweetheart Dinner and Show.
For the first time in it seven years, the event, which is a fundraiser for the Temple Theatre, will actually be held inside the Temple Theatre itself.
The dinner marks the first official event in the renovated theatre, which now has one side completed as the other side is still undergoing some final elements of restoration. Last year, the Sweetheart Dinner was held next door at the Southern Occasions Event Center, and in years prior to that, it had been held at the Crafton Barn.
“It’s put on by Portland Preservation Foundation,” said Billy Geminden, who has helped to steer the restoration of the Temple Theatre, which originally closed in 1956. “It’s our seventh annual Sweetheart Dinner, and it is a fundraiser. We have had continued fundraisers for the Temple Theatre, and the dinner will be in the other half of the building, you might say.”
The portion of the Temple Theatre that is completed was not actually a part of the original theatre, but serves as a banquet room for the redone Temple Theatre. Geminden said that the major work on the actual original theatre is mostly finished but still has plenty of cosmetic issues to be completed before the project is finalized.
“We have done a lot. We done all the major things. The concrete has been poured and steel is up for the balcony. Mainly what’s left on the other side are cosmetic things and equipment. We hope to have that part of it finished in no more than another year.”
The Temple Theatre project has been a labor of love for Geminden and the Portland Preservation Society in bringing back the old movie house.
“It’s been financed through grants, loans, donations and also we have had a lot of volunteer labor,” Geminden said. “We are an officially license 501c3 non-profit organization.”
In addition to the Sweetheart Dinner and Show, the Temple Theatre is available for rental for birthday parties and other events.
“Pretty much, what we’d like to do is use that side (the banquet hall) to fund paying our monthly bills,” Geminden said.
As for the annual Sweetheart Dinner, tickets are $100 apiece, and the banquet hall seats up to 80 people.
The event will be catered by Carolyn Berry. Tickets are available for the Sweetheart Dinner through the Portland Chamber of Commerce and can be obtained by calling the chamber at 615-325-9032.
For more information on the Temple Theatre and the restoration project, go to the Temple Theatre Facebook page at www.facebook.com/temple.theatre.portlandtn or at their website at www.temple-theatre.net.