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Performances scheduled at Rio as part of Helper event

Staff writer

Renovation work has been going on for quite sometime in downtown Helper.

The outcome will be a 300-seat theatre located in the old Rio building.

The renovation of the building site is part of a campaign that remains ongoing in Helper which will make the Main Street area look appealing, yet historic.

The city recently received a $78,000 grant from the United States Department of Commerce.

The federal grant money is to be used specifically toward renovation efforts of historic buildings.

In Helper, the project will involve the transformation of the old hotel into a new theater.

Since the city received the grant, work has been done to the downtown building.

Although renovation work on the historic building are far from being completed, the Rio is ready to open its doors to the public.

For two nights only, Carbon County residents are encouraged to plan on attending a specially planned variety performance at the theater.

The live entertainment will include music and dancing performed by local school children.

The performances are scheduled to take place Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, approximately 45 minutes prior to Helper's annual electric light parade.

"For quite some time now, we have been working on the theater, but nothing much has been said to acknowledge what has been done. This is a way to let the public come in and see for themselves what has been done to the facility," explained Helper Mayor Joe Bonacci.

Although the seatings not in place, the area is an escape from the cold that accompanies the annual parade.

"Our intent is to open the doors and let the public in to enjoy entertainment from local youth while at the same time, offer shelter from the cold," stated Bonacci.

"The parade offers us the perfect opportunity to attract a crowd and allow them to take a look inside the Rio Theater. Because there has not been much publicity as to what has taken place in the building, this will allow the community to see for themselves that there is work going on," concluded Bonacci.

After the historic preservation project is completed, the Rio will become the home for theatrical performances. It will also capture the distinct history of Helper.

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