A star festive, ribbon cutting ceremony marked the grand opening of the Pomona Fox Theater on April 18.
It has been 78 years to the date since the theater initially opened on April 24, 1931. The theater has been renovated to nearly its original state.
“We have been involved in almost every stage in restoration as consultants and in helping with various functions,” Vice Chairman of Friends of the Fox, John Clifford, said.
Friends of the Fox is a non profit organization established in 2002 that worked with the developer, Jerry Tessier, to promote the restoration of the theater.
This was not only an event to honor the historical building, which at its prime brought stars such as Lucille Ball and Shirley Temple, but also the on-going effort of the re-invention of downtown Pomona.
The sold out event hosted the grand opening as a sneak peak to members of the community such as Mayor Elliot Rothman, assembly member Norma Torres and Frank Garcia from Pomona Chamber of Commerce.
Those who participated in the night purchased a table which included dinner and access to the reception and entertainment.
The night kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony that began at the beginning of the red carpet and led from second street into the theater.
In keeping with the 1930s theme, antique cars were lined up on second street.
Tony award winner Carol Channing led the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“After going to the Fox, it inspired me to visit museums and explore new things,” Channing said.
After the hour long ceremony, guests were led into the auditorium, which will work as a venue for concerts that can hold up to 2,200 people.
The auditorium has three tiers, the orchestra level that can be used for concerts and seating on the second and third tiers. There is also a balcony that seats 350 people located on the second floor.
Friends of the Fox worked with the city of Pomona to get the restoration started.
“What is really cool about the restoration is that they created a lot of new spaces, for example two new roof top patios,” Michael Schowalter, chairman of Friends of the Fox, said.
The patios were used later in the evening for guests to enjoy dancing to a live band with a few drinks while enjoying the view of downtown Pomona.
“The Fonda Theater in Hollywood was the inspiration for the rooftop patios,” Tessier said.
Guests were treated to a special slide show of the history of Pomona and a speech from the night’s honored guest, Carol Channing.
Channing engaged the audience by telling the story of when she went on her first date with her first love to the Fox Theater.
Channing said that the theater was one of the reasons she became an advocate for the importance of arts in school.
While at the reception, guests also had access to see the new restaurant, which is on the corner of Second Street and Garey Avenue.
The restaurant showcased a collection of pictures of the Fox’s first few years and the regular celebrities that attended.
The Fox Theater works in conjuction with the Glass House, a concert venue, which sells tickets for the theater’s events.
The first event scheduled at the Fox Theater is the Smogdance Film Festival, which takes place at 7 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night and at 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information on upcoming events visit www.
Carmin Hermosillo can be reached at carmin.