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updated: 4/15/2013 8:18 AM

Ebertfest Theater shows off renovations

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Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Champaign theater that hosts the annual Ebertfest film festival is showing off more than $5 million in renovations as the festival prepares to start.

The Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign was built in 1921 and was a favorite of film critic Roger Ebert, who grew up in neighboring Urbana. He died last week.

The theater has hosted Ebert's film festival for several years.

Bobbie Herakovich is executive director of the Champaign Park District, which owns the theater. He told the News-Gazette ( the renovations have made the theater brighter and more comfortable.

Herakovich says the theater now looks more like it did when it opened. Its Wurlitzer pipe organ has also been restored.

The film festival opens Wednesday and runs through April 21.

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