Date Night: Page, North Dakota

It’s Saturday night in Page, and folks are lined up in the streets–because that’s how they park here–ready to take in a show.

No curbside parking here. Everyone lines up right down the middle of the street.


We’ve been planning all week to get back to Page, where we know that every Saturday night the Page Cafe is serving all-you-can-eat bbq ribs (just $10.95). And they mean it, too, although my first serving really was all I could eat. The cafe is open every day until 8pm, with a different dinner special every day–Sunday is Seafood Night–but only the Saturday special is all you can eat.

Page Cafe


Tom decided he needed a second serving of fall-off-the-bone meaty ribs. (And as I write, I’m kind of wishing I’d gone back for seconds, too!)


As we moved our forks from ribs to pecan pie and lemon cheesecake, I overheard the woman in the next booth ask a fellow if he was “doing the projection thing tonight?” He replied with a yes, and she said she was looking forward to it, but she “might miss that intermission in the middle.” Just about a month ago, the Page theater made the shift from reel-to-reel film to digital movie viewing. Not a small enterprise for a small town to undertake, but necessary as the film industry moved to digital distribution, final by the end of this year. See “Small-town movie theaters threatened by shift to digital cinema” for the gory details.

Page has an active Community Club, which results in the community cafe and the community theater, entities maintained by the community for the pleasure of the community and for wanderers like us.


Page Theater. Doors are open, popcorn’s popping, and the Community Club volunteers (and their kids) are ready for customers.


Gone are the days of old when a certificate like this, displayed in the Page Theater projection room, demonstrated that the holder had some pretty specific skills.

Motion Picture Machine Operator’s License, issued by The State Board of Electricians to Lloyd E. Kelly, 1941.


Now, empty reels are used for decoration.

Lobby seats at the Page Theater


And the projection room looks a lot different without reel-to-reel equipment.



But the view of the projection light from a theater seat still looks the same.



And the interior of the theater looks much as I expect it always has, although the seats are “new” (brought in from OMWICK Theater of Valley City).


View from the back of the Page Theater. To my right, there is also a “crying room,” or wait, isn’t that the “make-out room”? Altogether, the theater seats close to 200 people with plenty of legroom between the rows.


We watched Man of Steel—a modern take on Superman in this wonderful, old theater. The Page Theater shows movies Saturday and Sunday nights.

Tickets are a bargain ($6.50) and the concessions are a steal ($3 for popcorn and a bottle of soda), but the best part is meeting the Community Club folks (and their kids). The ticket booth was “manned” by a mom and her son, who later appeared behind the concession counter, learning to make change (which is fast becoming a lost art!) with his dad. Date Night in Page turned out to be a great deal, and we even received a “thanks for coming to Page!” farewell as we departed from the theater into the night for a pleasant ride home.

To get from Fargo to Page, head west on I-94 and take the Buffalo exit, which puts you onto Hwy 38. It’s just about 17 miles north from the exit to Page.

Here are some more pics from Page, taken by Tom Isern: Center for Heritage Renewal on flickr





2 Responses

  1. Janinne

    What a great piece on my beloved Page Theater. Inexpressible thanks to the Page Community Club for keeping the theater going. Wonderful work!!!

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