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Hollywood magic came to life Saturday evening as thousands of people packed inside the Chuck Mathena Center for the southern West Virginia premiere showing of “A Christmas Tree Miracle,” a Fly Over Films production staring Princeton native Kevin Sizemore.
Several cast members received a red carpet welcome as fans came out to enjoy all the excitement of the big event that served as a fundraiser for Community Connections, one of a collection of Princeton groups that is working to revitalize the city was the beneficiary of the funds raised through ticket sales to the premiere.
“I just appreciate all the support of the community,” Sizemore said just prior to making his entrance with his wife, Gina Lombardi and their son, Gunnar. “I’m just so appreciative.”
Sizemore and his family led the cheers and the applause as Jason “Moose” Reed, announced Ty DeMartino’s entrance, and did the same when Michael King and Siomha Kenney and her family were introduced. The crowd reacted with cheers and applause for each entry and walk down the red carpet.
The doors of the CMC didn’t open until 5 p.m., but people were already lined up outside waiting to get in at 4 p.m. Marquetta Mathena said the theater has seating for 952 people. “Every seat has been sold out for this show,” she said.
Nashville recording star and Princeton native, Delnora Reed, a great granddaughter of the legendary fiddle player, Henry Reed, performed a set before the audience got to experience the showing of “A Christmas Tree Miracle.”
“I’m just so excited to be here,” Reed said before her performance. “Kevin called me about two years ago and said we ought to do something together here someday, and I guess this is it.”
Reed humbly accepted the appreciation of Charlie Mathena who told her the community has been blessed by young people like Reed and Sizemore. “That’s the beauty of Princeton,” Mathena said. “No matter where she goes she’ll always be our little girl.” Reed graduated from Princeton Senior High School in 1994, earned her undergraduate degree in just two years at Concord University where she was named one of the top 10 “Best College Entertainers in America” and has been living in Nashville for 12 years.
The crowd was filled with people with one connection or another to the Sizemore family. “I graduated from high school in 1985 with Kevin’s brother Jeff,” Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Omar Aboulhosn said. “I’ve been a friend of the Sizemore family for years.”
Scott Noble who served as Sizemore’s Princeton premiere front man, was thrilled that the venue could be sold out with just eight days of promotions. “We have a lot to be thankful for,” he said.
“Princeton’s got it going,” Greg Puckett, executive director of Community Connections said. “As a community, I believe we’re at a crossroads. The thing that has impressed me most of all in working with everyone here to make this possible is that every one of them are so humble and happy to be helpful in the things that happen here.”
Puckett said that Community Connections hopes to offer two additional theatrical showings of the movie in the coming weeks at the Renaissance Theater — the new name for the former Lavon Theater on Mercer Street in downtown Princeton.
“It will be released on DVD in December,” Sizemore said.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org