KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - One old Texan is getting a whole lot closer to being rejuvenated. The Texan Theater in Kilgore, owned by the city, has been undergoing a major facelift for several years to be used as a multi-purpose venue.
The Texan was built in the 1930s; it burned and was rebuilt in the 1940s, and after that, slowly went out of fashion. But it's back in again, and this time, as Executive Producer of the Reel East Texas Film Festival Steve Shirey points out, it's air conditioned.
"Right, we have heating and cooling. I'm sorry I can't report on the tonnage of it, but it's a lot. I think I heard 60 tons or something, so obviously we can cool this place down in no time flat," Shirey said.
That's been in place since early July. There have been a few gatherings like some private events at the Texan, and the Kilgogh Art and Wine Festival.
"Kilgogh being our arts festival, obviously based on the name Van Gogh," Shirey clarified.
But it was the first big event, the Reel East Texas Film Festival, that put the Texan on the map and began a partnership.
"So Reel East Texas Film Festival interjected ourselves in the process so that we could alleviate and help continue some of the planning and staging and event planning details so that the city would not have additional staff to do it," Shirey revealed.
So they sort of run the place while the city continues with renovations including a new screen, sound system and walls for a lobby area.
"And then of course a big addition: plumbing," I said to Steve.
"Big addition; no more port-a-potties sitting outside the building," Shirey said.
And they're trying to keep The Texan as original as possible, even in the bathroom.
"We got to save all the original tile," Shirey said.
There's still work to do, but events are already being held. And by the way, the floor will be kept open. They'll bring in seating as needed.
The new sound system is great, but one of the best sounds is of functioning plumbing.
With the air conditioning and plumbing in place, The Texan is starting to get busy.
There is a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club Friday Night and another event Saturday for the East Texas Treatment Center. The second annual Reel East Texas Film Festival will be held in November.