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Movie magic in Gorham

By Nathan Tsukroff

GORHAM – Movie magic is returning to Gorham next week at Spire 29 On the Square.

Located in a renovated church near the center of Gorham at 29 School Street, the planned weekly events are being hosted by Ghost Karen’s Kitchens and Fort Hill Community Church.

The building is now an elegant catering facility with a stage area at one end of the main room and a bar at the other end.

John McCarter, head chef at Ghost Karen’s Kitchens in Gorham; owner Karen Nason; and Justine Turcotte, the pizza chef and a manager, show Brooklyn Benny’s pizzas from one of the six menus available at the kitchen, which will be sponsoring movie nights on March 19, 20, 26, and 27, with Fort Hill Community Church at the Spire 29 building on School Street in Gorham. (Tsukroff photo)

Karen Nason of Ghost Karen’s Kitchens said she and the church collaborated for the events after the local Cinemagic movie theaters abruptly closed at the end of February.

Cinemagic had announced what it called an “intermission” at the beginning of February, and several weeks later decided to close it’s entire chain of cinemas, including theaters in Saco, Westbrook, and South Portland, as well as five other locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Fort Hill Community Church has Sunday services and Thursday-night bible studies in the building each week, providing a projector and screen to supplement the sound system at the venue.

With the large room, “We’ll be able to seat people safely, away from each other,” Nason said. “And we also kind of want to do this as an homage to the fact that Cinemagic is closing. You know, families have nowhere to go anymore.”

Nason said she and the church wanted to create a space in Gorham where families with children could spend the evening.

The concept is similar to Smitty’s Cinema, a chain of movie theaters in Windham, Sanford, Topsham and Tilton that has table-seating for guests and serves meals before the movie.

For the Spire 29 movie nights, guests can order from six different menus at Ghost Kitchens, which is located in a building attached to the church. “Ghost Kitchens can walk right in here and bring your food to your table,” Nason said. Guests can purchase wines and beers at the bar.

The movie nights will be Fridays and Saturdays, starting March 19 and 20 and again on March 26 and 27. “We’re going to try this out for two weeks. If it works well, Karen’s Ghost Kitchens is going to be here every weekend for families and friends in town,” Nason said.

The movie nights are free, so the only costs for families will be for food and drink, Nason said. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for seating, with the movies expected to start at 6:30 p.m., Nason said. “We want to get all the orders in for the foods, (and) dim the lights,” before the movie begins. The servers will be available throughout the evening.

Fort Hill CC Pastor Aaron Manning said the church will provide the popcorn for the movie nights, and “it’s going to be family-friendly.”

Nason and Manning are working on the selection of movies. The only definite showing right now is the 2018 edition of the live-action animated comedy film Peter Rabbit on March 27, to celebrate the Easter season, Manning said.

Seating is limited to a total of 50 guests the first weekend, under current pandemic guidelines put in place by the State of Maine. However, the governor’s office announced last week that the capacity for indoor gatherings will change on March 26 to allow for capacity of up to 50 percent of the allowable for a venue. That will change to 75 percent on May 24.

Ghost Karen’s Kitchens provides meals for take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery, to bring “the restaurant experience to your home,” Nason said.

Ghost Kitchens “restored this beautiful event space that’s sitting here doing absolutely nothing,” she said. “We want to use it, so people come in and see this space that could be used for an intimate wedding of 20 to 25 people.” She has already booked two weddings for later this spring.

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