DERRY — "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful Derry."
That quote could have come straight from the 1942 Hollywood classic "Casablanca" if local businesses have anything to do with it.
Downtown business owner Andy Day is spearheading an effort to bring more life and spark to Broadway and beyond.
Day is helping organize an event based on the classic "Casablanca" where people visiting local businesses in town can celebrate the 1940s by dressing up in vintage attire to frequent favorite spots, buy products or enjoy drinks and dinner and then come to the Derry Opera House on Oct. 17 to watch the famed Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman film.
The event is in partnership with a long list of local businesses and the Greater Derry Arts Council to bring more life and fun to the downtown.
"It's a way to see what everybody is doing," Day said.
Day and wife Alana Wentworth own Cask and Vine and the Drinkery on Broadway and have supported downtown efforts for revitalization and improvements for years.
Celebrating Derry in a fun way will, hopefully, get a lot of people interested in what the town has to offer.
"I took it upon myself to take this and run with it," Day said.
He pitched his ideas to Opera House and Arts Council supporters to bring "Casablanca" to a big screen for a showing to culminate the event on Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
Prior to the move, people who support participating businesses can use receipts for a free film admission.
Day said putting the spotlight on the historic Opera House is key.
"The town wants the Opera House to be a center," he said. "This creates buzz and traffic."
The space in the Adams Memorial Building has a long history of bringing entertainment and culture to town, Day said. Bringing in a classic film is another way to use the space.
"I want to give people a night out, an experience," Day said.
He said he tries to incorporate fun and unique activities at Cask and Vine, including summer beach events and specialty nights.
Day said staff at participating stores, restaurants and salons will also have the opportunity to be dressed in vintage clothing in the days leading up to the film screening while offering specials and discounts.
People supporting those businesses between Oct. 11-17 will then take receipts to the Opera House to gain admission to the movie. Regular price without a receipt is $6. There will be free popcorn and maybe a signature, classic cocktail offered that night, Day said.
People are also encouraged to get into the mood and wear costumes based on the "Casablanca" era.
"Suits, fedoras, it will tie in with the whole experience," Day said.
There may also be classic cars driving into downtown Derry for the occasion, costume contests and raffles.
"We want to transform this entire community," Day said.
Day hopes the "Casablanca" event will energize people to visit the downtown and see what Derry has to offer. The town is already working hard to create improvements in aging and dilapidated buildings with its new Building and Property Maintenance group. A downtown committee also meets regularly to talk projects and incentives to help the town grow.
"Everybody wants to see everything expand and grow and be so much better," Day said. "It will be quite the buzz with everybody supporting local businesses. We're pretty excited."
Another seasonal project is being planned, Day said, with "The Polar Express" being shown at the Opera House Dec. 19.
More information on the "Here's Looking at You, Derry" event is available on Facebook at This is My Derry.