No one likes to scold the city more than I do. It brings me a certain level of content that's hard to verbalize and equally hard to understand.
But tucked underneath my gruff and hardened exterior, I have a side as gentle as Mary's little lamb. This tender side is layered with compassion and is as happy as a wedding cake.
All this is a long way of saying I'm pleased to heap praise on our city officials for having the vision to undertake a $2 million project and restore the magic to our beloved Park Theater.
This restoration project has endured its vocal critics who claim the money was too much and the tax dollars were misspent for entertainment purposes. But now that the Park Theater is a glimmering ray of excitement, those critics are getting the "shhhhh" treatment.
Just take a look at the recent lineup. Over the past six days, the Park Theater has been rocking with a Rolling Stones tribute band, been cackling with well-known comedian Killer Beaz, and been honoring with a touching Veterans Day ceremony. Not bad for a week's work.
The idea that a restored Park Theater could one day become a centerpiece for downtown activities is no longer an imaginary friend. It's sprung to life and has quickly gone from a crawl to a full sprint.
Park Theater gives McMinnville a first-rate entertainment venue and it's a welcome addition to this community. Before its reopening, any major performance would have to be held at the WCHS or WCMS auditoriums. Those are fine, well-kept facilities, but they're also at schools. It's hard to think of it as a night on the town if your function is being held next to a cafeteria.
Downtown McMinnville is a much more appropriate backdrop. Grab a bite at one of the Main Street restaurants, then go see a play. Catch a concert, then treat yourself to some frozen yogurt.
I've heard folks say McMinnville is a town lacking in the things-to-do department. I don't agree with that statement, but I've heard it said.
If that's the case, Park Theater is an encouraging addition that gives us folks at home something extra to do, and it will no doubt draw people into this community too. There was an ad for Killer Beaz on Nashville radio station 102.9 The Buzz, and there were also ads in newspapers in Tullahoma, Sparta and Winchester.
I was told Killer Beaz tickets were purchased from people traveling from Nashville and LaVergne. In all, there were 454 tickets bought for the sold-out show, which included about 75 people squeezed into the Park Theater's mezzanine area in overflow seating.
This is welcome news for our town, which has been outdone by even the likes Woodbury, best known as a speed trap, when it comes to a performing arts facility.
The Park Theater brings energy and vitality to our community and is another shining example of McMinnville moving in the right direction.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.