If you’ve ever spent time in downtown Fresno, odds are you’ve noticed the distinctive marquee and entrance of the Crest Theatre located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Fresno streets. Its wave-style signage and pastel coloring lend itself to the similar art deco style of beautiful local theaters such as Warnors and Tower.
According to the theater’s website, The Crest was built in 1948 by Fox Theaters, and was owned by Mel Brooks and Ann Bancroft. In 1996, it was purchased by Gloria León and since then it has been home to numerous events from film screenings to church services, concerts, and dance performances.
While researching fun things to do during the month of December, I discovered that The Crest is now hosting holiday movies each weekend throughout the holiday season!
This first December weekend, following the 88th Annual Fresno Christmas Parade, The Crest held a free showing of the modern family classic, The Santa Clause, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get a peek inside this theater that has always captured my curiosity. So, after the parade and a delicious lunch thanks to the food trucks at Tioga-Sequoia’s Funky Christmas event, my family and I headed over.
We were greeted by an employee at the door and a concessions booth in full swing. The smell of popcorn wafted through the air and excited kids hurried up the ramps into the theater entrances, located on either side of the concession area.
I made a quick trip to the restrooms before finding my seat (more out of desire to further explore the building than anything else) and found myself in a round room fully surrounded by mirrors. Neat!
Once in the main theater, the artistic reliefs in the room’s ceiling and on the walls captured all of our attention. They don’t make theaters like The Crest anymore, that’s for sure.
The theater has been fitted with a 42 foot screen and surround sound (though I will say it’s not quite as loud as today’s typical theaters are, but maybe that was on purpose during this kid-friendly movie showing).
There is plenty of seating, as the room can accommodate up to 1,200 guests, though I will advise you to sit in a row without others directly in front of you, as the seats and rows are reflective of the era, and designed smaller than today’s multiplex chairs. If you’re taller than me (5’4”), you’ll likely need the room to be able to stretch your legs in front of you.
Parking wasn’t difficult. We found a spot on Fulton Street nearby with no issue, and meters aren’t enforced after 6 p.m. on Fridays or on weekends.
The theater is beautiful, and definitely a fun experience, especially if you enjoy exploring old, historic buildings like I do. If you’d like to take in a holiday movie with your family and friends this December, you’ll have that chance every Friday and Saturday.
Here’s a list of the upcoming showings:
Tickets are $5 each, with the exception of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is a FREE showing.
Friday, December 8th at 8pm – Christmas Vacation
Saturday, December 9th at 8pm – A Christmas Story
Friday, December 15th at 8pm – Sweeney Todd
Saturday, December 16th at 7pm – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Friday, December 22nd at 8pm – It’s a Wonderful Life
Saturday, December 23rd @ 8pm – Elf
Friday, December 29th @ 8pm – Ghostbusters II
Visit The Crest’s Events page on Facebook for full details, and enjoy!