A sure sign that things might be returning to “normal” in Langley is the sight of new movie posters up at the Clyde and signs of life behind the window of the theater’s box office.
After a year and 12 days of being closed, the historic Langley movie theater is reopening this weekend, starting with three showings of “Emma,” the latest interpretation of Jane Austen’s classic novel of the same title.
The theater’s Magic Change Jar will also be making a comeback in time for the reopening, owner Blake Willeford confirmed.
Moviegoers will notice several changes in the theater. Besides the usual social distancing and masking regulations, the snack bar will be closed and touchless payment methods will be tested out.
The “soft reopening” will have shows at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, there will be a special 2 p.m. showing on Saturday reserved for audience members who have already been vaccinated, although all COVID protocols will still be in place.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” is scheduled to run April 2-12.
Since movie theaters in Phase 3 counties can currently only seat half capacity under Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Roadmap to Recovery” reopening plan, the price of tickets will temporarily be $10.
Besides being a local icon and gathering place, the Clyde has also helped people in the community.
The Magic Change Jar, which contributes money to local charities, was the brainchild of the late Lynn Willeford and began in 2009. Since its inception, almost $100,000 has been raised and donated to local causes.
When a patron puts in a dollar, it is matched by the Clyde and four partners, meaning the dollar amount is quintupled. Current partners are Island Athletic Club, South Whidbey Assembly of God, Richard and Christine Epstein of Edward Jones Investments, Kevin Lungren of Edward Jones and his wife Mary Jane Lungren.
Because the theater had been closed, the tradition continued through a different format.
Patrons sent their checks to the Clyde, which then sent it to the beneficiary of the Magic Change Jar.
Blake Willeford said the theater chose to support Good Cheer with the funds because that’s where the need was the greatest.
During the current campaign, more than $10,000 was donated to Good Cheer.
“People recognize the need,” he said.
The funds in the jar have customarily rotated among good causes on a six-week basis. Starting this weekend, moviegoers may to contribute to the physical jar again.
Willeford said the next charity that will be supported by the Magic Change Jar is Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, a nonprofit organization which Lynn helped found.