800 S. 27th St.,
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
Start your day with a picnic at Veteran’s Park. There are plenty of picnic tables, shelters, and benches available. You can even sit inside the gazebo by the pond while you watch the ducks and geese float by. If visiting in the summer, stop by Mary’s Sno Cone stand for a mouthwatering blue eagle, tiger’s blood, or ice cream sno-cone. Enjoy the many swings, slides, and other playground equipment including tennis and basketball courts.
Beck Family Center at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts
2600 E Richview Rd,
Mt Vernon, IL 62864
Open Tuesday through Sunday, little ones will love running around the Beck Family Center located inside the Mitchell Museum at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. This hands-on, interactive learning environment allows children to experience the textures, colors, and excitement of art. The Beck Family Center includes an “Artist Hub” activity center, giant liteworks station, a curator station, collaborative sculptures, giant indoor tree to read stories around, and more. The best part is, it’s absolutely free! If it’s a nice day, walk around the outdoor trails or 70-piece sculpture park and pond afterward.
Nearly 10,000 people have already been through the doors of the Granada Theatre in the month of December alone at one of more than 20 events, proving that downtown needs a venue to recharge and unwind or host an event for friends, family or colleagues. With only the lobby and Humphrey’s renovated and open at this time, the maximum capacity is 100 at a time, but Brown hopes that will all change in the near future.
Brown has a vision. With plans to renovate the auditorium which once donned a big screen, then later was divided into two movie theaters with a screen in each, Brown sees a stage expansion, floor leveling (to meet ADA requirements) and addition of mezzanine boxes a possibility. “Nothing is set in stone,” Brown lamented. “The project sometimes changes as it goes along.” As is true of any project with a building more than 100 years old. The auditorium is gutted now, awaiting the beginning of the next renovation stage which will hopefully begin in early 2019 and be done within the same year.
Traveling upstairs, excitement grew for our group as we not only saw where movies used to play from, but other areas upstairs, long ago vacated by an insurance company, the teller windows and cash drawers still intact. Right now, Brown envisions a private club for supporters of the Granada, similar to what one finds at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. Where they can come for private meals, drinks and more. “But who knows?” he says. Who knows indeed. The walls in the Granada could tell so many stories and hopefully will tell many more.
The New Years Eve event, Tinseltown: An Old Hollywood NYE Party, has sold out. The event, to be catered by downtown fine dining establishment, RARE Chop House, will also feature modern jazz music by “The Perrilles Project”. Other events at the Granada incorporate Brown’s downtown neighbors. “We like to support each other,” Brown commented. “We have a great vibe going downtown and it is good to work together.” Previous events such as the Throwback Thursday (#TBT) held on Thursdays last Fall featured other local musicians and dining delights from nearby Guero’s Mexican, Joe’s Pizza & Pasta and MJ’s Kingdom Catering.
As we rounded up the tour of what is and what is to come at the Granada everyone in the group had a story… seeing this movie here with this person, seeing Elvis on the big screen in “Blue Hawaii”, touring the projection room on a school field trip and more. The nostalgia of the past feeding the ambitions of tomorrow and looking forward to more memories along the way.
Photos by Lana Buck, Tourism Host: “The Granada. These walls whisper warm memories of days gone by and memories to be made.”