That's right, I'm taking a stand. I'm making a hard call and I DARE YOU to tell me I'm wrong.
I know what you're expecting to hear: the bike trails, the beauty in the summer or fall, the gorgeous beaches that are clearly well cared for, Knaebes (which is absolutely second on the list because OH MY GOD, I could build a religion around that place)...but no. The number one thing about Rogers City is number one partly because of how much better we have it than any other place I know of.
Ok, hear me out. The theater is old school, yes. In a most awesome, small town charm kind of way. It's old but incredibly well-maintained, so it's old in a quaint and classic kind of way. It's always been clean and staffed by exceptionally friendly people, but since I've been back it's been run by the library and wow--they go above and beyond.
The homemade videos reminding patrons to be quiet and courteous before a showing are an awesome touch, and clearly created by a staff that enjoys what they do and want the audience to have a good time, too. The theater's energy is great, and it feels homey and comfortable in a way that most theaters don't these days.
If I sound weirdly passionate about a movie theater, it's because I am. Going to see movies, particularly horror movies, in a theater is one of my favorite things to do on an otherwise open night. Nothing compares, especially now that I have a kid, to watching a scary movie in the dark, with the sounds enveloping you and engrossing you in the story. Watching a movie at home is an assurance of constant interruptions, so the chance to sneak out and catch a new release on the big screen is always special. Recently, I went to see IT: Chapter 2, at the AMC in Alpena and honestly...it was a shit show. There was a group of drunken adult women in the back yelling out such timely one liners as "Run, Forrest, run!" at the screen throughout the entire showing, and we ended up leaving early between shouts from the rest of the audience to "shut up!" and the women slurring back loudly and not nearly as comically as they thought.
Compare that to seeing the first installment of IT at the Rogers City theater two years ago: I would have sworn I was the only person in that theater. I thought it was a shame that no one else wanted to see such a masterpiece of clownery. Besides the movie itself, the theater was dead silent. When the credits rolled and the lights came up, I was genuinely shocked to see that the theater wasn't just not empty, it was nearly full. As a town, Rogers City has impeccable movie theater manners. I don't know if it's because there's an underlying fear of being shushed by someone your mom knows, or if the slightly antique and upscale look of the interior instinctively makes you want to shut the hell up, but I LOVE IT.
So I know there's a lot of things about Rogers City that could have made this list, but damn it, the theater is an absolute gold mine of badassery. It's the epitome of what you want in a small town: friendly, fun, charming in a quirky and open kind of way, and beautiful. The free movie nights, and documentaries that are aired are such an amazing bonus, and I think it's obvious that the library is really taking the theater and turning it into a valuable community resource.
The library, I've heard, is planning to expand into the old Grambau Center, which would not only be an outstanding use of an existing building, but create even more resources and opportunities for Presque Isle. To learn more and donate, visit The Library Project and support the amazing work the library is doing in our area. And keep up the solid movie manners, RC! Your moms would be proud.