The Solvang Theaterfest celebrated the groundbreaking of their rebuilding project on Monday morning.
The event, which featured a breakfast and ceremonial groundbreaking, took place on Second St. in Solvang. Members of the Theaterfest Board of Directors broke into the theater wall with sledgehammers.
The theater is located at 420 Second St., and it debuted its first show in 1974. They have been raising money for the remodel, and waited for two shows to finish before beginning the 10-month construction project.
Organizers invited city and county dignitaries, including Kenneth Kahn, Chair of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. The group sponsored the groundbreaking event.
At the event, organizers unveiled the remaining amount of funds needed to complete the $4.7 million rebuilding project fund. Planners say the Theater Rebuilding Project has raised over 80-percent of those funds, but almost 1 million dollars is still needed.
The rebuilding, which is set to finish in July 2022, will bring upgrades to the facility. It will bring improved electrical, lighting and sound technology to the theater, ensure safety for the audience, crew and staff, comply with ADA guidelines, and reduce wind and noise for the audience.
The repairs will extend the life of the theater, Chris Nielsen, Board Chair of Solvang Theaterfest, said.
"What we're doing now is going to ensure that this little jewel of part of what makes Solvang so special," Nielsen said, referring to Solvang Theaterfest, "it will be around for generations to come. And we're very excited about that."
When the project is finished, theatergoers can expect a wall that is 8 ft. taller. The current wood lighting poles will be replaced with metal poles.