KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Hundreds of kids from East Tennessee experienced a free day at the Tennessee Theatre Tuesday.
The first Youth Arts Alliance Kids Movie Day brought about 800 kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley and the City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Summer Playground Program to the historic building in downtown Knoxville.
“We want to emphasize that the Tennessee Theatre is for everybody to enjoy,” said Becky Hancock, executive director.
The children were handed out healthy snacks provided by the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation and Whole Foods. Before the movie started, house organist Bill Snyder played music and spoke about the history and what it takes to maintain the building. After that, the children watched the classic version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
“The kids are walking into a beautiful historic building and seeing something that is so grandeur. It’s something that we’re excited we can bring them something different and let them experience a little bit of Knoxville,” said Kristin Manuel, recreation superintendent for Knoxville Parks and Recreation.
“I love my job and when you get old kids keep you younger,” said Frances Dougherty, a mentor with the Boys & Girls Clubs.
“We’re helping these children make memories here at the theatre while they’re young so they’ll come back and enjoy more things later,” Hancock said.
Hancock says they hope to make this an annual event.