LOCKPORT N.Y. (WIVB) – A landmark in Lockport is finally open to the community, after being closed for more than a year. The Palace Theatre is back to having performances on the big stage and people in the audience.

“It’s an amazing feeling. You know the doors were bustling, we had people in here that we haven’t seen in a long time so it felt great,” executive director Christopher Parada said.

While closed during the pandemic, crews got to work transforming the venue. There’s new seating and carpeting and the paintings on the ceiling were restored. Then on May 1st, the venue welcomed people inside to take a look.

“We missed our patrons, we missed our volunteers, we missed seeing the kids play on stage and stuff,” Parada said. “It was really exciting and heartwarming.”

Businesses near the Palace Theatre, including Scripts Café, is just as excited to see people at the venue again.

“It’s a wonderful thing, not only for our restaurant but our community,” Scripts Café manager Jennifer Farmer said. “I think it’s great that we can have entertainment again. Somewhere to come back to. Somewhere local that brings everyone together.”

Given current state guidelines, the Palace Theatre has to follow different capacity limits depending on the event. Dance recitals allow two spectators per dancer, movies are shown at 33 percent capacity, and an in-person mass gathering is up to 100 people.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.