Thursday, July 23, 2015

[back] to [back] to [back] to the future

july 3rd marked the 30th anniversary of the release of my all time favorite movie; back to the future.

to celebrate this 'red letter date in history' the nearby town of augusta hosted a screening of all three movies back to back in their historic theatre. upon hearing about this event i knew there would be no way i would miss it.

i could go on and on about how much i love this movie, which was originally what i thought this post would be about.  however upon driving to augusta and parking outside of the theater i was taken aback at how much the town had changed.  the downtown i had expected was no longer, instead i saw a redeveloped area.  growing up nearby in the 80's and 90's, i remember downtown augusta being blocks of abandoned buildings.  i would take photos there of the empty storefronts and rustic ghost-town-esque streets.  walking on the new and repaired street scape i was impressed at what the town had done since i last visited.

it was by no means a thriving metropolitan scene, but walking on the sidewalk, it was easy to see a few retail shops had opened up along the block giving it vibrancy. stores that just a few years ago, may have likely chosen a strip center on a different part of town.  the district was anchored by a couple large businesses, but the crown jewel had to be the old theater.  the night of the screening tables and grills had been set up in the street for people to enjoy food, music, a delorean and a marty mcfly look a like contest.  basically a perfect event for a downtown.

it seemed almost too ironic this event was held in a redeveloping downtown.  considering the movie, you'll remember hill valley in the 80's was a trashy wasteland of a place. basically a representation of downtown's everywhwere during that time. later on in the movie, when marty witnesses his town in the 50's, you can see the shock on his face when he sees it as a thriving, active and lively place in all its mid-century urban glory. in the sequel, "back to the future 2," marty travels to 2015 and is once again shocked to see downtown hill valley redeveloped and thriving again.

minus the flying cars, the city of augusta is proving "back to the future" right. it took it's downtown, an important area of the city which had been a bustling district 60 years ago which then fell into disrepair in the 80's and 90's,and is now redeveloping it, trying to bring life back. i'd recommend taking the short drive from wichita to check out augusta.  a town really go back to the future.

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