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Starry night

Holland Theatre unveils new ceiling, clouds and stars

The memories came flooding back as high school classmates Joan Gay and Peggy Shultz looked up at the ceiling of the Holland Theatre on Friday evening.

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ABOVE: Attendees at the Holland Theatre's ceiling dedication event are greeted Friday by a sidewalk chalk message in front of the theater. BELOW: Guests at the Holland Theatre’s formal conclusion of the Starry Night campaign watch a slideshow of photos prior to the Friday evening event. (EXAMINER PHOTOS/REUBEN MEES)

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“We used to sit here with our heads looking up and see the stars twinkle,” Ms. Shultz said as she looked up at the stars and clouds that are once again being projected onto the ceiling of the historic theater. “I’d always wait to see someone come out of the windmills. It’s really neat.”

Ms. Gay, who has resided in the Sacramento, Calif., area since shortly after their graduation in 1955, donated money for two stars in the theater’s Starry Night campaign and said she plans to continue to see future improvements at the theater.

“This theater just keeps getting better. It makes me want to come back more often,” the Bellefontaine native said. “This was a great little town to grow up in.”

And with the lights again functioning, Ms. Gay was elated to hear what Holland board president Kris Swisher said would be next on the restoration list.

“We’ve got to do the seats, yes, but first we’ve got to start on the marquee,” she told the crowd. “A Schine theater in Bucyrus is closing and they contacted us about taking the marquee; so, whatever we can do to make that happen.”

“The marquee needs to be brought back. I’m really glad to hear that,” Ms. Gay said.

Mrs. Swisher began the event by recounting the history of the theater’s restoration which began with a group of youth who wanted to make sure it was preserved when it ceased operating as a cinema in 1999.

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