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Foundation fetes Elks anniversary, John Olsen on Feb. 22

Sharlot Hall Museum/Courtesy photo<br>
Elks Theatre, left, and Hassayampa Hotel, right in 1935.

Sharlot Hall Museum/Courtesy photo<br> Elks Theatre, left, and Hassayampa Hotel, right in 1935.

Every year, the Elks Opera House Foundation has celebrated the anniversary of the Elks Opera House, now known as the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, which opened in early 1905. Having produced a number of shows and events throughout the years, the foundation has recently stepped back. However, it will take some time after intermission of the "Travelin' Man" show on Sunday, Feb. 22, to recognize the building's 110th anniversary and confer to long time chairman and foundation member, John Olsen.

Foundation member Elisabeth Ruffner, said Olsen has been a foundation member since it organized in 2002 in order to finish the building's restoration. "He was great and tremendous at getting the project completed," Ruffner said. "He's been a great force in the community."

Ruffner said the interlude will be 15 minutes, noting the anniversary has been celebrated every year since 1999.

The reason the foundation stepped back in recent years, Ruffner said, was because the restoration was complete and the Elks Building and opera house were sold to its current owners. "We stepped back because we're not needed any longer to restore the building," she said.

However, Ruffner stated the foundation continues to celebrate with the community because the original construction was a community effort, adding that it's "only fitting" because the community stepped up to restore it to its former glory.

Looking to the future, Ruffner said she knows that the Elks theater will continue to thrive.

"It will continue to be an asset, the nonprofit has great plans for it," Ruffner said. "It's well known all over the country for this restoration."

The anniversary celebration for the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, formerly the Elks Opera House, will be after the intermission for Lonely Street Productions' "Travelin' Man" show. Tickets for the show cost $25 for adults and $22 for seniors. Box seats are $30. Tickets are available anytime online at or by calling 928-777-1370. They are also available at the door one hour prior to performance.

Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels

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