Kenworthy upholds Palouse holiday tradition

Everyone has a special holiday tradition they would never want to miss. For some, it’s getting together at Great Aunt Judy’s to listen to her wise old stories of her past Christmases. For others, it’s as simple as making gingerbread cookies with the family. For many around the Palouse, this tradition lies at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre with the showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“So many people have memories from their childhoods of watching this movie,” operations director at the Kenworthy Jamie Hill said. “They want to continue that tradition with their children of watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at the holiday times.”

The Kenworthy shows “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year. This tradition started eight years ago when the board of directors decided they wanted to thank the community for all they do for the theater.

Hill believes this showing is important because it gives families an opportunity to get back together after being apart because of school or work.

“It gives families whose children have moved out and are coming home for the holidays the opportunity to continue a tradition on a larger scale with such a classic movie on the big screen, which many people don’t get to experience,” Hill said.

Christine Gilmore, executive director at the Kenworthy, has been one of the lead organizers of this tradition for years. She said she knows many people who’ve attended the event annually and will continue to attend.

“I personally have a friend who has taken his mother and his kids to the showing every year for at least five years now, and even though his kids are growing up, they still love it,” Gilmore said. “It’s something anyone can love.”

This tradition has become one that is so beloved by Palouse residents. Many who come to the Kenworthy would never miss this, and many others go to the Kenworthy once a year for this special occasion, Hill said.

“Year after year, come November, people start asking if the Kenworthy will be showing ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ because it’s such a great tradition,” Gilmore said. “We often pair the showing with the food drive, so it’s a great way to contribute to a local cause.”

This year, the Kenworthy will once again be working with the Moscow food bank. By bringing one canned good, $1 will be taken off the admission to see the film. All of the cans collected will go to the Moscow Food Bank.

“We’ve received suggestions to show other movies, and we have shown other movies along with ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’” Gilmore said, “but showing this classic film will be a tradition for the Kenworthy to uphold for years to come.”

The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will show “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 7 p.m. from Dec. 15 through Dec. 18. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children.