Pre-opening Night Gala Reception
for Major Building Donors

Donors arrive at the refurbished Empire Friday evening, March 27, 1998, the rewired and re-bulbed marquee operating with no gaps or bad circuits for the first time in nearly a decade. The annex on the right had once been a Pancake House, later the offices of the Girl Scouts, and finally the Dakota Shopper before it became integrated into the basic design of the arts center building.
(All Photos by Christopher P. Jacobs)

Donors are amazed at the building's transformation, and wander throughout the theatre during a pre-show reception in the lobby.

At 8:00 p.m. the audience take their seats for the theatre's inaugeration/recognition ceremony and a musical program.

Fundraising chairs Hal and Kathy Gershman present a block of the granite that had adorned the front exterior wall from 1955-1997 to N. L. Bentson and Joe Floyd, owners of Midcontinent Media, the former theatre chain that donated the building to the North Valley Arts Council in December 1994.

Classical guitarist Berta Rojas performed for the crowd of donors, and played again for the public Saturday night at a sold-out concert with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony. Her appearance was made possible by the generosity of the Kennedy Center.

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