Kingston theater gathers $190,000 through fundraiser

Kingston theater gathers $190,000 through fundraiser

Donations continue to flow in for Kingston Firehouse Theater

Following its feature on CBS Sunday Morning, Kingston’s Firehouse Theater has raised just under $190,000 on its GoFundMe page (as of Feb. 12).

If you were watching the Oscars coverage all Sunday, you may have seen a spotlight shine for a quick minute on Kingston’s own Firehouse Theater and its owner Craig Smith.

The special highlighted the ups and the downs that the theater and Smith have faced since its opening in 2009. From the expensive switch from film to digital to Smith’s own physical health causing him to take a step back.

Smith set up the GoFundMe page on Jan. 29, just one week before the special aired with a goal of raising $250,000. Since the special aired (and as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12) the page has raised some $189,571 with nearly 5,000 individual donations ranging from $5 to as much as $2,000 and has seen over 3,000 shares.

On the page is a short video featuring Smith who explains why the page has been set up.

“We’ve been here about 10 years, almost closed twice, but you know we dedicated this to the art of film. We’re trying to keep it open. When we were forced to go digital, it cost a lot of money, I’ve got half a million in place, I’ve still got some debts, I need to retire and convert it to a nonprofit,” Smith said. “We may have to move it to keep the overhead low, but we do have a good community here that wants to see it happen, it’s growing and we believe that we can do this with your help.”

Smith spent over $400,000 remodeling the old firehouse in Kingston into the theater visitors see today and has been gradually paying back those costs over the years. The theater’s monthly attendance is roughly just over the population of Kingston itself, however, the majority of ticket sales go back to the movie production companies through fees. Smith said he would like to turn the theater into a nonprofit that supports the Kingston community before his health forces him to retire.

The funds raised through Smith’s GoFundMe campaign will be used to pay off the remaining costs of the theater projectors, pay off credit card debts accrued for theater expenses as well as a second mortgage on the property, upgrade theater lights and finally establish the nonprofit.

“Thank you so much, everybody! Lee Cowan and CBS Sunday Morning moved my wife to tears,” Smith said, in a thankful statement on the fundraising page. “How people can capture the essence of a dream. And so many people reminded of going to their small-town theater and wishing there was one near them again … Thank you so much. There is so much love for going to the movies still alive,” Smith said.

More in News

Firework cakes with prices attached, Elisha Meyer/Port Orchard Independent
Fizzle or boom on fireworks with higher costs?

Fourth of July celebrations in Kitsap County are getting back to pre-pandemic… Continue reading

Downtown Port Orchard. Courtesy Photo
Funding advances for Port Orchard downtown revitalization

The House Appropriations Committee has advanced new funding championed by U.S. Rep.… Continue reading

Suquamish Councilmember Sammy Mabe speaks during the tribe's joint meeting with the city of Poulsbo. Courtesy Photos
Poulsbo, Suquamish officials meet for 1st time since 2020

Tribe suspended relationship following fatal shooting

Applesauce from South Kitsap High lunchroom
Changes in free summer lunch program upset some

A popular food program is making its return to the South Kitsap… Continue reading

Motorcyclists weave through each other during a pre-parade demonstration. Elisha Meyer/Port Orchard Independent Photos
Fathoms parade winners announced

The annual Fathoms O’ Fun Festival returned to the streets of Port… Continue reading

Consumer fireworks are now for sale across Kitsap County, with the exception of Bainbridge Island. (File photo)
It’s official: Fireworks season has begun

Sales started Tuesday; consumer fireworks can only be discharged on Fourth of July

.
Vote for the Best of Central Kitsap

It’s time again to vote for the Best of Central Kitsap! Now… Continue reading

.
Vote for the Best of North Kitsap

It’s time again to vote for the Best of North Kitsap! Now… Continue reading

Most Read