COAL TOWNSHIP - The iconic "Golden Arches" of a local McDonald's restaurant have a fresh and modern look and the restaurant will celebrate with the public Thursday and Friday.

While McDonald's revamps its restaurants across the country, the Shamokin McDonald's will unveil its redesign during a grand re-opening celebration. The restaurant is located on Route 61 near Springfield.

"We're changing with the times, and we never stop looking for ways to improve," said Roland Kissinger, owner/operator of six restaurants in the area, including Elysburg and Frackville, which have also undergone redesigns in the past two years. "This new McDonald's speaks to the needs of our customers and our community. We want our customers to enjoy every part of the McDonald's experience."

Modern exterior design changes at the Route 61 location include a new entrance and a clearly identifiable double-lane drive-thru for enhanced, on-the-go service.

Updated lighting fixtures and modern seating and furniture, including booths, chairs, high-seated community tables and lounge-style seating areas, were part of the upgrades.

Kissinger said a new order-taking system, "dual point service," will be installed, the first for any local McDonald's. The closest such system is in Williamsport.

Employees at the register will take the orders and that will be their dedicated job, thus enabling them to have more interaction with customers.

Other workers will fill the order and a screen above the order counter will tell customers when their food is ready and can be retrieved at a second location at the counter.

GCM Contractors, Mount Joy, did the remodeling work.

Ribbon cutting Thursday

To celebrate the grand opening of the Shamokin location, the official ribbon cutting will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday. Donations will be made to the Brady Fire Company, The Northumberland County Council for the Arts, Shamokin Area High School and the Soldiers Circle Veterans Association. Customers will enjoy free cake; product samples, including the new Egg White Delight Breakfast Sandwich, Premium Chicken McWrap Sandwich, and Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie; entertainment by the Shamokin Area High School chorus and band, and get a look at a McDonald's farm table complete with nutrition information. The popular McDonaldland character Grimace will also be on hand.

Festivities continue from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday with DJ E-Dub from Variety 97.7, kicking things off with the famous "Big Macs for a Year" giveaway.

The first 97 customers at the restaurant beginning at 4 p.m. Friday will get a certificate good for one Big Mac a week for an entire year.

Ronald McDonald will appear from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Friday with a free magic show and all Happy Meals will be specially priced at $1.99.

There will also be a free "Make and Take" Mother's Day craft for all children 10 and under while supplies last.

From 5 to 6 p.m., the Gear Grinders Car Club will host a cruise-in with classic and antique cars on display.