Jul 26, 2023 - Things to Do

Castroville's Rainbow Theater reopens after 50 years

Rainbow Theater in Castroville. Photo: Courtesy of The Elsass Group

After 50 years, downtown Castroville's Rainbow Theater is back in action thanks to a group of residents who pulled together to restore the movie house to its original shine.

What's happening: The one-screen theater reopened on July 15 about 30 minutes outside of San Antonio.

  • Tickets for new movies including "Barbie" and "Haunted Mansion" are available online.

What they did: Fifty Castroville residents formed The Elsass Group to revitalize the downtown area.

  • The group has bought or built 10 buildings in the area.
  • Joshua Kempf, a founding member of the group, tells Axios the theater purchase was driven by a need for an entertainment option in the area.
  • The Elsass Group declined to disclose how much the acquisition and renovation cost but said the process took 18 months.

Flashback: The Rainbow Theater opened in 1943 and closed in 1974. The space was used as an exercise studio, antique store and thrift shop during the years that followed.

Details: The theater can accommodate 185 people on updated leather seats. Kempf says there's also a snack bar with traditional theater goodies as well as beer and wine.

  • Tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children.
  • Original projectors from the 1940s, which have been replaced with modern technology, will be displayed in the lobby.

Between the lines: The Elsass Group is committed to preserving Castroville's charm and history of being an ​​Alsatian colony.

  • Henri Castro and families from the French region founded the town in 1844.
  • "We've come together to, frankly, try and save the town from getting overrun with the sprawl coming our way from San Antonio," Kempf says.

What they're saying: Kempf says the response from the Castroville community has been "overwhelming."

  • "I think it's been really special for them to go back 50 years later and have movies there again. So it's a very happy memory for lots of folks, and we're happy to bring it back," he says.

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