From Illinois Business Journal news services
COLLINSVILLE — The Gateway Center’s Annual Festival of Trees campaign has chosen the Miner’s Institute Foundation as its 2015 fund-raising recipient.
The foundation is in the midst of its own campaign to raise the funds necessary to get the Miner’s Theatre reopen for business and able to support future restoration work.
The Festival is Wednesday, Dec. 2, and tables and sponsorships are available. Click here for ticket information. Deadline to participate is Oct. 17.
The theater opened in 1918. The construction of the building was paid for by the local miners unions. The theater brought entertainment to the city and the second and third floors gave a permanent home for the union offices and provided a central meeting place for the mining locals. These floors were also used by various community groups for social activities and housed a small library which was the beginning of the present day Collinsville Memorial Public Library.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, named a Collinsville Progress Historic Landmark in 1993, and a City of Collinsville Historic Landmark in 2013.
Gateway Center’s Annual Festival of Trees began in 1993 as a fund-raising gala to support Collinsville area organizations and projects. Since the Festival’s inception, the Collinsville Convention Authority Board of Directors, representing Gateway Center, along with the year’s chosen charity committee, has offered up over $500,000 to our local community.
Festival of Trees guests enjoy unlimited food and drinks as they stroll a 40,000-square-foot space filled with Christmas decor, one-of-a-kind trees, wreaths and tablescapes.. A secret panel of judges chooses its favorite trees, with the grand prize tree up for grabs in the tree raffle. Guests also enjoy a live band playing holiday music to get them into the spirit of the season.
Past recipients of the Festival of Trees such as Collinsville Progress, the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society, Collinsville Charities for Children and the Collinsville Education Scholarship Foundation have earned in excess of $20,000 each year in exchange for planning and executing this invitation-only event that is attended by more than 900 guests.
“It’s really a lot of work, and it takes a dedicated group of volunteers to pull it off, but the reward makes it well worth the effort” said MIF fund-raising Chairman Eric ODonnell. “The theater requires significant renovation to make it compliant with current building codes before it can be opened to the public, and we are extremely grateful to the Gateway Center board of directors for recognizing the importance of this project and awarding us this honor for 2015.”
Those interested in the restoration efforts or who want to participate or contribute may visit www.historicminersinstitute.org, follow the foundation on Facebook/Miners Theatre or contact (618) 972-4236 or MinersInstitute@gmail.com.