The amazing generosity of the businesses and residents of an eastern Iowa community is going to make the next week a very special one.

The Castle Theatre in Manchester is a very special place. It first opened in 1935 and after decades of success, the community learned in 2009 that one of its most popular gathering spots would be closing. The theater's closing was very short-term.

November 2021/Google Maps
November 2021/Google Maps

Manchester came together and reopened Castle Theatre as a non-profit on October 23, 2009. Kristy Davis now manages the day-to-day operations but, beyond that, it's a community effort. Each show is staffed by volunteers. They could be students, from a local business, or a church. Together, they make sure that Delaware County's only movie theater stays open.

As you can see, the community of Manchester is passionate about its movie theater. Combine that with a new movie that brings out the best in attendees, and something very special has happened in the county seat of Delaware County.

The movie 'Sound of Freedom' is "The incredible true story of a former government agent turned vigilante who embarks on a dangerous mission to rescue hundreds of children from sex traffickers." I've seen it, and it's a tremendous and heart-wrenching movie that has turned into a big success at the box office. That's due, in part, because the film encourages attendees to pay it forward by providing free tickets so others can see the movie. In Manchester, they didn't need to be asked.

On Tuesday, Castle Theatre revealed a contest paid for by a local Skogman Realty agent. It would give two free tickets and a Castle Combo to the winner. Magic was born.

Wednesday, it seemed the entire community of Manchester opened their hearts and pocketbooks. First came the announcement that a local business had purchased every single seat for a showing on Monday, July 31. The tickets will be free at the theater on a first-come, first-serve basis.

That was followed by an individual donation of more than 100 tickets, then 50, another 50, and another 50 with free popcorn included. The generosity of giving went on all day long.

In the end, more than 1,400 free tickets were donated. As a result, six different showings of 'Sound of Freedom' will be absolutely free to more than 200 attendees for each show.

I told you the Castle Theatre in Manchester, Iowa is a special place. And so are the people who live there.

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