Iconic Granada Theater to show Christmas films in Morgan Hill

The Poppy Jasper International Short Film Fest begins Wednesday Oct. 10 and will be playing films on two screens at the Granada Theater in downtown Morgan Hill.

Fresh off a successful temporary reopening of the Granada Theater for the first time in nearly a decade, and just in time to ring in the winter holidays, the Morgan Hill Downtown Association is working on bringing a weekend screening of two Christmas classics to the theater.

On Dec. 7 and 8, with private showings Dec. 9, downtown businesses plan to show “The Polar Express” and “The Santa Clause” at the theater that many longtime residents see as a downtown Morgan Hill icon.

It’s not only planned to be a family-friendly holiday event to bring people to the downtown – it’s also a fundraiser for less fortunate families during the holidays. Admission to the movies will be free with the donation of a non-perishable food item, or an unwrapped toy that will be donated to local families, according to MHDA event coordinator Raquel Crowell.

The MHDA is currently looking for sponsors for the event, Crowell added.

The Granada Theater opened in 1952, and closed in 2003.

With the blessing of its owner, the Morgan Hill Economic Development Corporation, the Poppy Jasper Film Festival opened it for the first time to audiences since it closed in October. The festival committee solicited volunteers and hired a crew to clean up the abandoned theater, make minor repairs and improving access for temporary use during the five-day festival.

“Once we heard the Poppy Jasper festival (gained use of the theater), we thought we could use the Granada Theater for limited use for special events, once in a while,” Crowell said.

Downtown business owners have said they would like to see the Granada opened to film audiences at least on occasion, until the EDC is able to redevelop the property as it plans to. Even if it’s just for special events, the theater is bound to bring more business to surrounding shops and restaurants downtown, proponents have said.

Just seeing the lights pouring out of the theater’s lobby and front entryway during the Poppy Jasper Film Festival brought a renewed energy to downtown, said Rosy Bergin, owner of Rosy’s at the Beach restaurant.

Bergin opened her restaurant at the corner of Monterey Road and Third Street in 1998.

“We noticed, immediately, a downturn in business when it closed” in 2003, Bergin said. “There’s definitely a correlation between dinner and a show.”

The former Morgan Hill redevelopment agency purchased the theater and surrounding property in 2008 with plans to rebuild with a mixed-use project, with retail or dining on the ground floor and offices and residences upstairs, as well as more parking on the property.

The RDA transferred the Granada to the EDC last year. The EDC retains the same plans for the property the RDA had.

For more information or to become a sponsor for the Granada Theater holiday movie event Dec. 7 to Dec. 9, contact the MHDA at (408) 779-3190.

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