The historic Fox Theater, now owned by a new not for profit board of directors and operating as the Newton Fox Performing Arts Center, inc., will launch a concert series Thursday during the Taste of Newton.
The series will feature four live concerts this fall as fund-raisers in the "Under Construction" concert series.
The first concert, presented in cooperation with Taste of Newton and Bethel College Fall Fest, will be at 8 p.m. Thursday. With underwriting from Roofing Services, free tickets are available from Fox board members or at Prairie Harvest. Tickets are free, but admission requires a ticket.

"Generous sponsorship of our concert enables us to make this an open house concert as part of Taste of Newton," said Barb Burns, board member and concert organzier. "If our newest efforts to restore, renovate, and reinvigorate Newton's iconic Fox Theater is to fly, we need Newton and Harvey County to get involved. We want to create a venue that is safe, comfortable, and fun! We will work to bring the talent and events that our community will support. We want to know what you want the Fox to be."
Thursday's concert features Karen Waldrup and Ashlee K Thomas and is part of their Autumn Sky concert tour. The duo will play Friday night at The Pumphouse in Wichita.
Karen Waldrup has recorded four albums and was featured on the reality show, The Next Platinum Hit for young songwriters, and will sing the National Anthem at the NFL Bengals game in Cincinnati in a few weeks. Ashlee K Thomas toured two continents and 27 states last year. Their sound is compared to Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow.
Burns said citizen input has repeatedly told the City that the Fox Theater is the single most important catalyst for downtown and the community.
"Young adults want something to do in the evenings and weekends," Burns said. "Newton has no community venue where people from all backgrounds, ages, economic levels, and political persuasion can come together and enjoy one another. Newton needs to find a way to relax and remember how to have fun again. Wetake ourselves very seriously. We are prone to 'choosing sides.' We tend to overlook what a great community wehave — and what potential there is to make this an even better place to live and work."
Part of the goal is to keep Harvey County residents closer to home when seeking entertainment — rather than making the drive to Wichita or other communities in search of concerts and live acts.
"Every weekend, a trail of cars leaves Newton headed for the Steiffel in Salina or the Orpheum in Wichita," Burns said.
"Many HV tags park weekly in front of the small performance venues in Wichita and in the parking lots of the movie theaters there. With gasoline approaching $6 per gallon in some places, let's stay home and have fun. Let's keep achunk of the disposable income we allocate for entertainment here in Newton and Harvey County."
Thursday night concert attendees will see a refreshed and cleaned lobby and concession area — as this summer board members gave the place a scrubbing and fresh coat of paint. They have done some minor work to the restrooms and the stage.
"There may not be a more hard-working nonprofit board than the crew that has coalesced with the Fox project," Burns said. "Very busy, very talented individuals who love the potential of a buzzing venue downtown. If you haven't been in the old Fox for awhile, plan to attend the concert. ... Great plansare in the works to create a jewel on Main Street. Stay tuned."