"Oh, this brings back memories."
That comment could be heard again and again Saturday as the Park Theater opened its doors to the community as an entertainment venue for the first time in nearly 30 years. The Main Street theater showed its last movie in 1986.
Nostalgia hung in the air as heavy as the smell of popcorn wafting from the concession stand. Visitors were eager to see for themselves the over $2 million renovation and sit in the seats watching performances.
"I was a 1942 graduate and we were the first class to walk across the stage here," said local resident Charles Smith. "We walked from Central, which is now Bobby Ray, and got our diplomas right here. We walked everywhere back then."
Diane Gillentine reminisced about seeing movies with her husband, Jimmy Joe, at the Park.
"We'd come here in the '70s and '80s," said Diane. "But we were working and we were busy and didn't have a lot of free time back then."
David Snowden toured the theater as a member of Leadership McMinnville in 2006 and was stunned at how the building was in such poor shape.
"It looked awful," said Snowden. "It still looked like an office. But this looks great. It's exciting."
David said his 8-year-old son, Oliver, is anxious to see shows at the Park Theater.