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Classic Center

Curious to see whether the Classic Center expansion was worth closing a block of Hancock Avenue? Get your tickets now for a Feb. 16 open house. From Angie Estes, the Classic Center marketing and PR coordinator:

Complimentary tickets to The Classic Center’s Community Open House Celebration will be distributed beginning Monday, Jan. 28.

Scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16 from 2-6 p.m., the community open house will give the public its first glimpse of The Classic Center’s new $24 million expansion.

Admission is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entry and can be picked up at both The Classic Center Theatre box office and the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center box office. Tickets are limited to four per person.

The family-friendly celebration will be reminiscent of an old-fashioned day in the park, and will showcase the convention center’s beautiful new 8,000 square foot atrium and expanded 55,000 square feet exhibit hall.

“We’re very excited for the community to see this new space and learn how it relates to them,” said Paul Cramer, Executive Director of The Classic Center. “This is our way of saying thank you for making this project possible.”

Funded by a voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, the expansion is expected to generate an additional $6 million a year in visitor spending in Athens.

The open house begins at 2 p.m. in the new atrium with a “Big Time under the Big Top” that will feature trapeze artists, unicyclists, face painters and more.

There will be a ribbon cutting, and the new public art installation by renowned artist Maureen Kelly will be unveiled. Guests can then stroll through “Art in the Park” and check out the works of more than 20 regional artists who will have items on display and for sale.

Guests are encouraged to bring food and enjoy a “Picnic in the Park.”

At 4 p.m., the celebration will move into the Grand Hall for a “Concert in the Park” with Foundry St. Jazz presented by the Athens Symphony and featuring the New Columbian Brass Band, a 23-piece ensemble making a special appearance for the grand opening.

The Community Open House is the first of two grand openings The Classic Center has scheduled to celebrate the opening of the expansion. A black tie optional Grand Opening Gala is set for Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.

The Classic Center Theatre box office in downtown Athens is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call the box office at 706.357.4444.

The UGA Performing Arts Center box office is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the box office at 706.542.4400. 

In other news, Rebecca McCarthy at Athens Patch reports that the Daily Groceries co-op is shifting to a patronage model. Instead of volunteers working at the Prince Avenue store in exchange for a discount, the Daily has hired a full-time staff and is selling shares for $100. Board president Delene Porter and manager Andrea Malloy say the change will help the co-op to grow and fill the need for a downtown grocery store.
At the AJC, Chris Joyner and James Salzer have an outstanding look at how money influences politics under the Gold Dome. Kristina Torres reports that state archives supporters are still nervous about budget cuts.
But the biggest news of the day? Aaron Murray is coming back to UGA for his senior season.