By Stephanie Calas
BAR HARBOR — The Criterion Theater, which opened on April 30 for the first time since its $1 million-plus renovation, is putting on its party hat for a Grand Reopening celebration on Thursday, May 28. The festivities will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the dazzling Art Deco theater.
Eli Mellen, executive director of the Criterion, explained the reason for the re-opening: “On our opening night, we had an evening showing of the film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The movie was a success, but then we realized that not everyone wants to see a Hollywood blockbuster film on the first night. So instead, we’re hosting an event that we really hope will bring the community into the theater, and together.”
Mellen describes the evening as “a party” that is free and open to the public. There will be free food, a performance by the MDI High School Jazz Band and possibly other musical groups and tours of the theater. Community members will have the opportunity to walk through the historic halls and rooms that are now complete with new carpeting, paint and refurbished furniture.
While the Criterion’s movie showings and theater performances have been successful this month, the Grand Reopening will be a fun and boisterous way to join together the island’s community and spark its involvement in one of Bar Harbor’s stunning landmarks, Mellon said. “Guests can wander into the theater at any point during the evening because the event is meant to be fun, not heavily structured. We’re really excited to see new people at the theater and to have them enjoy the Criterion in its restored glory.”