Apalachicola's Dixie Theatre Back to Its Glory Days

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Most would agree that seeing a good movie on the big screen can be unforgettable, but would you travel 100 miles to see the next big release in theaters?

The residents of one small Panhandle town have been doing just that for the past 30 years, but a historical theater house is changing all that.

It's a small, quiet town. Only about 4,000 people live here. Most spend their time fishing in the oyster-rich bay or sipping ice tea in a local café, but a popcorn machine and a dusty old projector is changing all that. The movies have return to Apalachicola.

"It was 1967 the last time the movies were here and the excitement is palpable," says Ed Tiley, serving on the theatre's Board of Directors.

The old Dixie Theatre was built in 1912 and showed motion pictures until the big city lights of Apalachicola's neighboring towns ran the theatre out of business, so when the Dixie's new owners took over the deteriorating theatre, bringing back the movies seemed like the only proper way to restore its original glamour.

Most living here say it's long overdue. Since the 1960s they've had to travel 100 miles to see a movie on the big screen.

"We have to drive to Panama City or Tallahassee. Of course, in Panama City we're on different time zones, so it gets difficult and you get back really late," says resident Tamara Marsh.

Now, Tamara can walk to the movie house to watch blockbuster hits like Shrek 2. More than 200 people came out on the movies opening night. It seems the residents of this fishing town are taking on a new hobby.

"There's a size limit on the fish, but we have people of all sizes here this weekend, and all are having the time of their life," says Tiley.

For more information about the historical Dixie Theater you can log on to www.dixietheatre.com


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