I've lived here almost all of my life. Downtown has always been my favorite part of our fair city. Sure shopping in Winter gets a little wild. But honestly, I am a geek and navigating through the snow is all the adventure I can handle. And the pain of trudging outdoors from shop to shop is mitigated by the reward for getting into your store. Psst! Mall Shoppers....you have a bigger parking lot to slog through, more rain will hit you on the way in and there is way more ice over there than down here. But you should totally stick with the delusions that have served you so well in the past.
Shopping "out of doors" so to speak has one great advantage over mall shopping: the smells. We eat and shop with our eyes first, this is true. But secondly we eat and shop by scent. A good brisk 30 seconds in the chilly air clears the nostrils of one smell and prepares it for the next glorious aroma. And frankly nothing is better than the smell of popcorn. Or chocolate. Maybe fudge. Or flavored vinegars. Or spices.... we have a lot of great shops downtown, can you tell?
Being outside in the bleak midwinter and then stepping near the State Theater is such a mood boost! The popcorn lures you in. But the movie experience is something that you just can not deny yourself. The theater has a long and storied past which I will not recount here. It was the first place I ever saw a movie. At 5 years old my Grandparents took us to see Snow White (in theaters for a second time). When I went to the movies on my own it was Downtown to see Fast Forward. And it was glorious!
The movie was tripe. But the experience with the marquee gleaming and flashing.... wow! You just don't get that kind of excitement going to a movie at the mall. The theater sat empty for a long time. Cineplexes moved in, movie traffic diverted and the old girl sat alone in the middle of the street... the white elephant. Then Michael Moore comes along and brings her back to life. She is our Jewel of the Nile, our Ankara Stones, and she lives again. We all know how awesome this theater is and now so do others. Will that mean that she will be less special? Will we be over run by fame and popularity?
I don't think so. We are a small town and the geography is going to assure that we do not get too big for our britches. Unless we pave over the bays but who would be stupid enough to further defy Mother Nature after the weather we've all been having? Will the theater get more business? Certainly. And that will bring people into the shops and hotels and spread a little wealth around. Will we be another Vale? I doubt that.
Will the popularity of our theater, especially if it should attract world wide attention, bring an industry with it? Could we be a Midwest Hollywood? I am sure some of our hard core locals who don't like change worry that is so. But the film season is even shorter than the growing season here.... unless....
For now though we can at least enjoy the 15 minutes of fame our Downtown Theater is getting and revel in the awesomeness that is the appreciation for a movie experience well served. Some other theater somewhere will be restored & take those accolades in the future as will happen in the circle of life. But until then she is ours, she is one of the best and there is a news story to prove it:
Fox 32 - Traverse City's State Theatre Named No. 1 in the World