On October 28, 2015 the curtain finally rose on a stage that had remained dark for nearly four decades. Over 1000 people gathered for an epic celebration as the Homestead community kicked off the completion of the Seminole Theatre restoration with a bang. The evening began with a 1920’s style street fair featuring dazzling performances by fire dancers, stilt walkers, and hula hoop artists.
The marquee lighting ceremony began atop the Seminole Theatre roof with speeches from Homestead’s Mayor and Council, City Manager, the Seminole Theatre Board President, and others who were part of the effort to restore the historic theatre. Then, the crowd below became part of the Seminole Theatre’s first and largest performance in nearly 40 years as Katy Perry’s “Firework” played and the thousands gathered danced and waved their glow sticks, called “magic lights” for the event.
As the song reached its titular lyric, the Seminole Theatre’s iconic marquee blazed into neon glory and confetti rained down on the crowd as they cheered, gasped, and clapped. As the dance party died down, the doors to the theatre finally opened and throngs of people filed through the gleaming lobby. Inside the auditorium, attendees saw the stage fully lit, felt the plush brand new seating designed to match the original upholstery, and learned about the history of the Seminole Theatre as well as the improvements made during the renovation.
The historic structure, originally built in 1921, was first restored in 1940 with the iconic Art Deco façade you see today. The theatre, a central part of Homestead’s social life, was mainly used as a movie house until it closed its doors in 1979. In 1992, it suffered a near total loss as a result of Hurricane Andrew. In an attempt to salvage the historic property, citizen groups embarked on a renovation effort that would span decades. Renovations were completed by project contractors Munilla Construction Management and project architects Designel.
Funding for the Seminole Theatre restoration was made possible thanks to the citizens of Homestead. During the decisive May 2014 Bond Referendum, 64% voted in favor of the $5 million Bond to renovate the Historic Seminole Theatre as a cultural center.
The renovation of the Seminole Theatre as a cultural arts center is part of an overall effort to bring new life to Downtown Homestead with a series of civic and community ventures. These include the new City Hall, which is near completion, the expansion of Losner Park as a civic plaza for community events, and the construction of a new Police Station in the heart of Downtown.
The Grand Opening for the Seminole Theatre will take place Saturday, December 12, 2015 featuring a gala event, professional performances, and other community events throughout the weekend.