Barter Theatre Hosts Annual Birthday Bash Tonight
Barter Theatre celebrates its 81st anniversary with a Birthday Bash tonight, June 10 from 5:00pm to 7:30pm on Barter Square. The Birthday Bash is free and open to the public, as Barter's way of saying thank you to its many friends and patrons.
The family-friendly event celebrates Barter's unique history and bright future with a Wizard of Oz-themed party in and around Barter's new Tent on Barter Square (adjacent to Barter Stage II). The area will be transformed into the Land of Oz for the evening with a rainbow entranceway and oversized lollipops lining the sidewalk.
To make the day even more special, June 10 is also the first "Barter Day" for 2014, meaning that anyone can bring canned goods to barter their way in to see "The Wizard of Oz" at 7:30pm. Tickets are also available for sale as usual. All canned goods are donated to Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
The Birthday Bash includes fun activities like Wicked Witch Broomstick Races, a kids craft table and Pin the Heart on the Tinman. An Oz costume parade for kids in attendance will take place at 6:30pm, let by the pup playing Toto in "The Wizard of Oz." Babycakes Cupcakery in Abingdon is providing free cupcakes while supplies last.
Families should bring a camera or smart phone so that they can take pictures with the oversized "LOVE OZ" letters, the life-sized cutouts of Oz characters, and the always-popular fountain "Titania."
Abingdon Mayor Ed Morgan will preside over the festivities - costumed as the Mayor of Munchkinland! He will read an official proclamation from the Town declaring June 10, 2014 to be Barter Day. "For 81 years, Barter Theatre and the Town of Abingdon have grown together, and I am delighted to celebrate this occasion with Barter," said Mayor Morgan.
Sponsors include: Babycakes Cupcakery; The Mahaffey Agency; Gregory Owens DDS; Siegner's LTD; Frost Funeral Home; Chick-N-Little; Potter's Abingdon Opticians; John D. Lentz DDS; Hicok, Fern, Brown & Garcia CPAs and OneMain Financial.
Guests are welcome to give Barter a birthday present in the form of a donation to Barter's Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence.
Barter Theatre opened its doors on June 10, 1933 with a performance of John Golden's "After Tomorrow," proclaiming, "With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh." The price of admission was 35 cents or the equivalent in produce. The concept of trading "ham for Hamlet" caught on quickly. At the end of the first season, the Barter Company cleared $4.35 in cash, two barrels of jelly and enjoyed a collective weight gain of over 300 pounds.
"Barter Days" are an annual tradition when Barter Theatre celebrates its unique heritage by inviting patrons to barter their way in to a show with canned goods for a regional foodbank. In addition to the Barter Day associated with the Birthday Bash on June 10, there will be two additional Barter Days: June 12 at 7:30pm for the comedy "Hollywood Confidential," and June 14 at 10:00am for the Barter Players' "Bridge to Terabithia," based on the classic children's novel.