GARNER — For the first time in more than 40 years, movies are being shown at the Avery Theatre.
Friday was the official opening of the restored Art Deco movie theater, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Despicable Me 2” was shown at 5 and 8 p.m.
People began streaming into the buttered popcorn-scented lobby as soon as the doors opened at 4:30 p.m.
“It’s fantastic,” said Cheryl Hanna of Garner, who brought her three grandchildren to the theater. “It’s quite an addition.”
She said she even enjoyed seeing the advertisements for local businesses that played before the movie started.
Hanna, who has lived in the community for 37 years, said it’s nice to be able to go to the movies in Garner.
She took her grandchildren to the Lyric Theatre in Belmond a few weeks ago to see “Despicable Me 2,” but the theater was full so they couldn’t get in.
Travis Hawe of Garner brought his three children to the Avery on Friday.
“I think it’s as nice as any (movie theater) I’ve been in,” he said.
Hawe said he will probably take his kids to the movies more often now that the Avery is open.
“It’s affordable,” he said. “It’s easier to take the family.”
Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children under 12.
The Avery first opened in 1931 and showed movies until the late 1960s before being converted into a pharmacy.
It was restored by Garner Main St. Inc., a non-profit agency that purchased the building in 2008.
“We have worked hard for a long time,” said Barb Eisenmenger, chairwoman of Garner Community Center Inc., who was in charge of the theater restoration project.
The original look was retained as much as possible.
The red clay tile was extended beyond the ticket booth into the lobby.
The second floor of the theater has a marquee room that can be rented for parties, as well as a VIP room where party-goers can sit and watch a movie together after they eat.
The second floor has already been rented for a birthday party on Sunday.
Donors to the theater restoration project were invited to some “soft opening” events this month before the official opening.
“We have had a lot of great feedback from the community,” said Carole Lemon, theater manager.