Plus, nature museum breaks ground.
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💎 The “Gem” of Kannapolis
A brick building faces the front of the Gem Theatre's sign in front of a blue, cloudless day.
The Gem Theatre debuted in Kannapolis on New Year’s Eve in 1936. It’s among the only operating single-screen theatres in the country.
| Photo via WCNC
Roll out the red carpet. After months of extensive renovations, the Gem Theatre is open to the public.

“We are pleased to reopen the Gem Theatre for everyone to enjoy,” says Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant. “As one of the most iconic movie theatres in the United States, we hope everyone enjoys the new amenities, such as the seats, while surrounded by the glamorous Art Deco design of our 1930s theatre.”

A wall of black and white photos with colored borders, noting the theatre's history.

Inside the theatre, guests will be able to transport through time, taking in the theatre’s rich history.


Photo via City of Kannapolis

Renovations on the 88-year old gem began in December 2023. The theatre now boasts new seats, a refinished stage and floors, a new screen, curtains, plus updated restrooms and concessions. Editor’s note: Historical artifacts are found throughout the space, paying homage to the historic landmark.

The single-screen theatre debuted in Kannapolis on New Year’s Eve in 1936. Six years later, the building was gutted by a fire. It was rebuilt in 1942 with a new lobby, 916 seats, and remains among the oldest single-screen movie theatres in operation today. It’s also one of a few to offer balcony seats.

Rows of red cushioned seats on the balcony level inside the newly remodeled theatre.

New seats were among the months-long renovation project for the Gem.


Photo via City of Kannapolis

“These renovations will allow the Gem Theatre to continue serving the community of Kannapolis by providing a comfortable and high-quality atmosphere to enjoy first-run movies, while preserving the memory of this historic landmark,” said Gary Mills, Director of Kannapolis Parks and Recreation.

More than 700 people contributed to the restoration project by sponsoring seats, a marquee brick, or buying a vintage seat.

“We want to thank the hundreds of people who donated to the Gem Renovation Project without their assistance we could not have completed these renovations,” says Mayor Hinnant.

The opening night film will be IF, starring Ryan Reynolds. Tickets are $4-$5. Showtimes are Thursday through Sunday.
What’s your favorite part about going to the movies?

A. Seeing a new movie
B. Fresh popcorn and snacks
C. Comfortable seats
D. The ambiance
E. Other
Thursday, May 16
  • Yoga for All | Thursday, May 16 | 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Union West Regional Library, 123 Unionville-Indian Trail Rd., Indian Trail | Free | Expand your mind and body in this yoga session for all experience levels.
  • The Great 28 Celebration | Thursday, May 16 | 6-9 p.m. | The Terrace at Cedar Hill, 800 Westmere Ave., Charlotte | Celebrate 28 Black Charlotteans helping to shape the city into a thriving place to live, work, and play.
  • Aventura - Cerrando Ciclos | Thursday, May 16 | 8 p.m. | Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St., Charlotte | $84+ | Sing and dance to the bachata group during their second Queen City performance.
Friday, May 17
  • Time Laps 24 Hour Relay Race | Friday, May 17 | 3-8 p.m. | US National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte | $12 | Watch racers compete in a 24-hour trail-running relay.
  • Science on the Rocks | Friday, May 17 | 6-10 p.m. | Discovery Place Science, 301 N. Tryon St., Charlotte | $18-$22 | Enjoy cocktails + get hands-on in the labs as the science museum becomes the biggest social event in Uptown.
  • Tim McGraw: Standing Room Only Tour 2024 | Friday, May 17 | 7 p.m. | Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St., Charlotte | $35+ | “It’s Your Love” that will takeover the Spectrum Center during the country music star’s performance.
Saturday, May 18
  • ONE Fest — Charlotte’s Yoga + Music + Arts Festival | Saturday, May 18 | 10 a.m.-11 p.m. | Lenny Boy Brewing Co., 3000 S. Tryon St., Charlotte | $69-79 | Celebrate art and yoga during this festival featuring 80+ classes and workshops + live music, food trucks, and vendors.
  • Carolina Streetwear Market | Saturday, May 18 | 11 a.m.-7 p.m. | The Ford Building, 400 Camp Rd., Charlotte | Cost of purchase | The first-ever Streetwear Market will showcase brands from across the Carolinas.
  • MeckDec Day | Saturday, May 18 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | The Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte | $5-$10 | Celebrate, learn, and reflect on the legendary Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
  • 11th Anniversary Party | Saturday, May 18 | 12-10 p.m. | Carolina Beer Temple, 195 N. Trade St., Matthews | Cost of purchase | The Beer Temple will tap beers specially curated to celebrate 11 years in the community.
Sunday, May 19
  • Charlotte Symphony Orchestra | Sunday, May 19 | 1 p.m. | Cain Center for the Arts, 21348 Catawba Ave., Cornelius | $47-72 | Listen to the works of a dozen composers during this special performance.
  • Charlotte-Knights vs. Durham Bulls | Sunday, May 19 | 1:05 p.m. | Truist Field, 324 S. Mint St., Charlotte | $16-$65 | Enjoy America’s favorite pastime as the Knights take on the Bulls.
Click here to have your event featured.
News Notes
  • Charlotte’s Small Business Growth Fund will invest $40 million in ~2,000 businesses over the next four years. It’s one of the largest access-to-capital opportunities in the history of Charlotte. (WCNC)
  • Construction is moving forward on the SouthPark apartment building destroyed in a deadly fire in May 2023. Mill Creek Residential began rebuilding in January on Modera SouthPark at 7740 and 7741 Liberty Row drives. The building that caught fire was demolished to the slab. (Charlotte Business Journal)
  • The Panthers’ 2024 season has been announced, including a game against the NY Giants in Munich, Germany. Follow the biggest stories on the Carolina Panthers with Locked On’s daily, team-focused podcasts.
  • Kannapolis-native Josh Sanders advanced to the live finale of “The Voice.” Sanders performed a rendition of “Angels” by Thomas Rhett. You can watch the finale Monday at 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 9 p.m. on WCNC. (WCNC)
  • Discovery Place is one step closer to its new nature museum. The museum held a groundbreaking and tree planting event to kick off construction. The new museum is expected to open in the fall of 2025 + be a world-class nature education center for the Carolinas.
  • Lake Norman is the top and busiest North Carolina boating destination. The man-made lake spans 32,000 acres and boasts ample space for boating, fishing, and more. Belmont came in at No. 2. (Get My Boat)
  • Queens University students are beautifying Pineville Lake Park. The students are repainting five electrical utility boxes near the lake. The muralised boxes will debut Saturday, May 18. (The Charlotte Observer)
🍝 Come hungry, leave happy
Groups of people walking and conversing on a packed lawn with a red food truck and vendor tables at a food festival.
The Annual Italian Festival at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church has been welcoming guests and parishioners for 27 years. | Photo provided by St. Philip Neri Catholic Church
Prepare for “meatball madness” in Fort Mill. The 27th Annual St. Philip Neri Italian Festival kicks off Thursday, May 16. The festival highlights the community with mouth-watering family recipes and three days of fun.

“It started 27 years ago with a small idea to have a nice gathering for the parish. It started small and it’s just grown exponentially,” says Carson Luger, the chairperson of the festival.

The annual festival is a labor of love by the parishioners and volunteers. Inspired by St. Philip Neri, the “Apostle of Joy,” and the community, the event features live music, a kid zone, a “Cannoli Run” 5k, and homemade Italian favorites.
Wednesday, we tested your knowledge with “How many service dogs are in the US?”

Charlotte_Therapy Dog_May_2024

Cody happily received plenty of cuddles from Novant Health hospital staff.


Photo by CLTtoday

After learning about Joyce and Cody, we put your knowledge to the test.

5%—1 million

The correct answer: ~500,000. Did you guess correctly?
6AM City In-house
The Wrap
Headshot of CLTtoday author Maria Delgado Today’s edition by:
From the editor
After speaking with the chairperson for the Italian festival and hearing about all the homemade items available, I’ve been strongly craving ziti and meatballs. If you are attending the event, tag @ourCLTtoday in your photos on Instagram, I’d love to see them.
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