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Events show park's huge potential

Posted: April 17, 2013 - 12:02am

We already had a pretty good idea here in Columbia County of the potential encapsulated in those 19 acres we call Evans Towne Center Park.

But if there was even the tiniest speck of doubt, it left town before the Masters guests arrived last week.

Between the ninth annual Rock Fore! Dough concert Tuesday of Masters week, Family Fun Day events on Wednesday, the Chris Young concert on Thursday and the Lynyrd Skynyrd show on Friday, an estimated total of some 17,000 people visited the park.

Seventeen thousand.

Now: Just how many folks would have visited the park during Masters week in, say, 2009, back when it was just a rutted field? Maybe 100, tops?

Obviously, development of the major park, with its Lady Antebellum Pavilion, the dog park, playgrounds and walking track, along with benches and picnic pavilions, has been a huge hit – but the events of Masters Week show just how much use the facility can handle.

And next year? It’ll probably ratchet up another notch. You can’t argue with success.

Rock Fore! Dough found a big boost in its move from the First Tee facility in Augusta, where organizers had been forced to use rented stages for the fundraiser concert. By subleasing the park from the Savor Society, which had leased it for the week, they had to spend only a fraction and were able to send more money to First Tee.

The other events of the week also benefited charities, including Fund the Boom – which supports the upcoming Thunder Over Augusta military appreciation event and fireworks show, also held at the park – and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Much appreciation for all these efforts go to Jim Freudenberg, president and CEO of The Savor Society that organized the Championship Festival – and who promises to do even more with the event.

“We’re going to grow it, and even the talent that we’re going to be bringing in next year will be bigger than we had this year,” Freudenberg told News-Times staff writer Valerie Rowell.

We can hardly wait!

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