The words “Welcome to the Temple Theatre” said by Emcee Danny Green were more than opening words at the seventh annual Temple Sweetheart Dinner and Show held Feb. 15. 


These words represented years of hard work and dedication by a group of people in Portland who had a vision. The Portland Preservation Foundation saw part of that vision come true when the doors opened and the guests came filing in for the first banquet at the theatre.


The banquet hall is described as the most exquisite room in Portland. The design of the room is late Georgian/Early Federal. The chandelier is a reproduction of the French Empire design of the late 1700s and early 1800s and the glass is cut crystal from Austria. The window treatments have a grid in the arch with the windows divided into 13 panes representing the 13 colonies.


Violinist Kristen Keen played quiet music in the lobby adding an elegant touch to the event as guests arrived. Ladies were given a long-stemmed red rose. Later in the evening Kenneth Brewer played a medley of songs on the semi-grand piano built in Stuttgart, Germany and donated to the theater by a family in Gallatin.


After the meal catered by Carolyn Berry Catering & Decorations, guest heard stories from the memory keepers, who told about attending movies at the theatre while they were growing up. The memory keepers are Lila Brewer, Jean Briley, Larry Collins, Donald and Joan Hodges, Martha Keith, Robert and Juandel Lane, Parnell Suttle, and Charles Wilkinson.


Billy Geminden recognized the many volunteers who have donated their time to make the restoration of the Temple Theatre possible. Some of the volunteers include Geminden and Brewer who built the windows saving thousands of dollars, Ken Wilber who volunteered to do the wiring, Jim Donoho, and Collins Construction for the many things they did. Many people have given of their time and money. This is not an exhausted list of those who volunteered or the multiple things each volunteer did.


According Donoho, who serves as treasurer, the amount raised at the dinner and auction is an estimated $13,000. 


Donoho said, “I want to thank everyone for understanding the crowded conditions at the tables. So many had worked so hard and wanted to come to celebrate the proud opening moment.”

The meal sponsors were State Representative William Lambeth (Platinum Sponsor), Wilkinson & Wiseman Funeral Home (Silver Sponsor), and Shoal Technologies Group (Gold Sponsor) and Shannon Insurance Agency (Gold Sponsor).


Members of the Portland Preservation Foundation are Billy Geminden, Denise Geminden, Kenneth Brewer, Jim Donoho, Dan Green, Ken Wilber, Robyn Collins, Drew Jennings, Kathy Freeman, Wayne Bandy, Jack Freedle, and Sherri Ferguson.

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