Tampa Theatre and the Tampa Downtown Partnership are hosting a block party before the premiere of Won't You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary on famed children's television show host Mr. Rogers.
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, under the theatre’s marquee, there will be live paintings on Mr. Rogers-themed canvases and pop-up art exhibits. The restaurants on and around Franklin Street will also offer food samples.
“Tampa Theatre is very fortunate to be one of just a handful of theatres in the country to be opening this movie,” said Jill Witecki, the theatre’s Marketing Director. The movie will premiere Thursday in Tampa and Sarasota, and open in other cities June 29.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a children’s television series that aired for almost four decades on public television. Witecki hopes that people who didn’t grow up watching Fred Rogers can still enjoy the movie.
“There’s such a beautiful message to it,” said Witecki. “Kids who come and see the movie are going to be treated to something they haven’t seen before.”
With the changes going on around downtown Tampa, Witecki says that the block party is a good way to create the kind of neighborhood Mr. Rogers would want to visit.
“Considering everything that’s been going on in downtown Tampa – we are in this wonderful renaissance where we’re seeing apartments being built, and restaurants opening and art galleries springing up,” said Witecki. “We thought what better way and what better time to invite everybody downtown to come meet their neighbors.”
Tampa Theatre will be collecting new and gently used sweaters and sneakers for children and adults in the lobby during the documentary's multi-week run. The Sweater and Sneaker Drive will benefit the Spring of Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries and other local charities.
Donors can drop the items off at the box office.