The Dixy theatre sign restoration project is now closer to completion after Bashaw town council approved the development permit on July 7.
The permit allows for the installation of an illuminated, free-standing sign on the side lawn of the theatre, located at 5110 50 St.
Shelley Boileau, president of the Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society, says it’s a relief to have one step of the process taken care of.
The theatre group has been working to restore a piece of their history and is throwing a special commemorative celebration event, “Lighting Up the Dixy,” for the unveiling of the new sign on Sept. 23.
Canadian award-winning country band The Prairie States will be giving an acoustic performance during the evening.
The winners of Bashaw’s Got Talent 2023 singing competition, to be held on Aug. 25 during Hometown Days, will get to open for The Prairie States.
Boileau, along with other society members, has been working on what she calls her “pet project,” for almost a year — fundraising, making applications, communicating with the band and planning the unveiling — and it has been quite the process.
“This is like my little baby,” said Boileau. “I can’t wait for the 23rd to come.”
The society sent a letter of request to the town asking them to waive the $95 development permit application fee. According to Boileau, the request was denied because the town didn’t want to set a precedent, considering how many non-profit groups there are in town.
However, the amount of the fee was donated by Bashaw Farm and Building Supplies Ltd.
After the development permit was approved, the next step was applying for a building permit through an inspection group based in Edmonton, which cost $400.
Boileau added she just hopes an engineering inspection won’t be required.
“There’s so many hoops to jump through,” she said.
Standing at about six feet high and four feet wide, the sign has now been fully restored.
It was repainted professional artist Dwight Lockhart and Central Alberta Builders and Renovators installed the lighting.
What’s left to do is to build the stand, cement it in, and bolt the sign onto the stand.
Once the building permit is approved, Jodie Brokopp of Kijo Welding Ltd. has committed to donate his time and talents to build the stand. The society just has to purchase the steel.
Once the stand is complete, it will be installed by Central Alberta Builders and Renovators.
“Once we get the final permit we’ll be good to go.”
Getting the necessary permits to mount the sign to the theatre itself would have been much more complicated and costly, which is why they decided to go with a free-standing sign, said Boileau.
In 1946, Joseph and Florence Dick purchased the Majestic Theatre and renamed it the “Dixy Theatre.”
The lighted neon Dixy sign would be the first of its kind in Bashaw.
Lighting Up the Dixy will be a full-circle, homecoming of a sorts as the Dick’s grandson, Jeff Dick, is the leader of The Prairie States.
The band is donating their time for the event, and the unveiling itself will be done by Jeff’s parents, Ken and Anne-Marie Dick.
It’s not the first time the band’s success has brought them back to their Bashaw roots.
They recorded their music video, “Every Little Town,” in the Majestic Theatre and within the Town of Bashaw.
Tickets for Lighting Up the Dixy are $40 each and go on sale on Thursday, July 20.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting Val Wander at 403-358-8575, Boileau 403-588-9958, or by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Dixy tickets” in the subject line.
Only 80 tickets will be sold as space is limited in the theatre.
The doors will open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be at 6 p.m. The musical portion of the evening will kick off at about 7:30 p.m.
The total cost of the sign restoration project is estimated at about $4,000, which includes the cost of steel, cement, structural drawings and permits.
The society is really depending on having a sell-out show and the generosity of donors, said Boileau.
The group had received $450 in direct donations as of July 13, and Boileau said more is needed to recoup the costs of the restoration and the celebration event.
The society sent out a letter of appeal to local businesses and donation boxes are located in stores all over town.
While donations made via a donation box can’t be tracked, those who make a donation directly to Boileau, or via e-transfer, of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt.
Direct donors of $100 or more will have their names engraved on a plaque displayed inside the theatre building. Donations can be made by cheque to the Friends of the Majestic Theatre Society or by e-transfer to email@example.com.
Any funds left over after the event will go towards the non-profit’s next project.
The theatre has the goal of completing one improvement project per year. A new floor for the theatre may be the society’s next venture, said Boileau.
Bashaw’s Got Talent
Bashaw’s Got Talent is being held in conjunction with Bashaw Hometown Days.
Participants will show what they’ve got on stage at the Bashaw Community Centre on Aug. 25, starting at 7 p.m.
To take part in the contest, register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and state your intention to participate.