Along with many local businesses and organizations, the Bradford County Regional Arts Council and its historic movie theaters in Canton, Sayre and Towanda, closed up shop and went home on March 18 to wait out the global pandemic. What initially was announced as a two-week closure turned into more weeks and then into nine weeks of shelter-at-home directives.
Even though the county has entered the green phase, the theaters of the BCRAC will remain closed to indoor movies a while longer. Movie studios have pushed summer films to late fall and even into 2021, leaving very little content from which movie theaters depend on to survive and thrive.
“The lack of content and the commitment to remain closed until we are assured that we can viably and safely bring back staff and patrons are the driving forces behind this decision.” according to Elaine Poost, BCRAC Executive Director.
In the meantime, BCRAC employees have been busy planning. Curbside Popcorn events have been very popular and have brought patrons and staff back together, if only at the curb and at a safe distance. In June, BCRAC is launching into Drive-In Cinemas with the best of classic films in parking lots and locations across the county and across the state line into Waverly, NY. You can even rent the inflatable screens and have your own backyard drive-in this summer.
As an arts organization, the BCRAC has been working on other projects including a series of fundraising events designed to reconnect us to one another after being sheltered apart. In two, possibly three, moving events, intended to bring communities together to spread the message of hope and love, the Friends of the Sayre Theatre in partnership with the BCRAC, will be holding a Water Lantern Float. The event is planned for Saturday, June 20, during the Summer Solstice and just before Father’s Day on Island Pond in Sayre.
One hundred fragile paper lantern decorated by community individuals will be released onto the pond by members of the BCRAC and Friends group. Those who would like to participate in this fundraising event can purchase a lantern to decorate at any of the Curbside Popcorn events held at the Sayre Theatre on Fridays from 4 to 7 pm. Lanterns can also be requested by phone message to the BCRAC office at 570-268-2787. The cost of a lantern is $10. Decorated lanterns must be returned to the Sayre Theatre on Thursday, June 18 between the hours of 3:30 to 5:30 or at any Curbside event before then.
In traditional water lantern festivals, an individual and unique lantern is launched from the shore and drifts out to join other lanterns, each adorned with messages of hope, love, healing, peace and connection. The lanterns are fragile and temporary, but they light up the water with beauty and hope.
“We had been looking at the Water Lanterns in early March as a possible fundraiser, before the pandemic took over. Now, the lanterns seem more relevant, the things we missed while we were apart are what the lanterns represent,” Poost remarked.
A second event has been approved for Towanda where the lanterns will be launched onto the Susquehanna River later this summer. For more information on the Water Lantern Floats, Drive-Ins and other events, check out the Facebook pages of the BCRAC and the Sayre and Keystone Theatres.
The BCRAC, established in 1976, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and supporting a thriving regional arts community by advocating for the Arts, cultivating quality arts programming and preserving Bradford County’s historic theaters as venues for performances, community events, and movies. For more information, visit BCRAC online at www.bcrac.org or www.facebook.com/BCRAC. Visit the theaters online at www.bradfordcountymovies.com.