Columbia County officials are putting the finishing touches on the county's new state-of-the-art library and performing arts center.
With the work coming to a close, the entertainment is lined up and the invitations are being sent out for a preview of the library at a Preview Gala slated for 7 to 11 p.m. Jan. 21.
Carly Kobasiar, the county's community events specialist and organizer of the gala, said invitations were sent out to county officials and major library donors late last week in the form of a tuxedo-clad pop-top can with R.S.V.P. forms and party goodies inside.
"But everyone is welcome to attend," Kobasiar said.
The black-tie event will preview the new facility and raise funds for a grand piano for the performing arts center and an endowment for facility maintenance and improvement. The gala, whose theme is Once Upon a Time, also will include a wine tasting and heavy hors d'oeuvres.
In fact, Kobasiar said, the evening is full of entertainment. The four-hour event will feature performances from groups such as the Columbia County Choral Society, Augusta Players, Augusta Symphony, Augusta Ballet and Air Apparent, formerly the Partridge Inn's house jazz group.
Area artists such as the guitar and flute duo of Tom Godfrey and Julie DeMott, pianist Brent Odom, saxophonist Fred Williams and harpist Nell Morris also will perform.
"There will be something going on pretty much at all points during the evening," Kobasiar said, adding that smaller groups will be performing inside the library.
Barry Smith, the county's Community and Leisure Services division director, said Wednesday that construction on the library and performing arts center is complete, while interior work and landscaping continue.
"The landscaping is going in as we speak. Landscaping of grounds and the memorial garden should be complete within the next two to three weeks in time for the gala grand opening," Smith said.
"Furniture and fixtures for the library are coming in soon. Then we'll be closing Gibbs and moving the books," he said.
When the building and grounds are finished, the center will include a library, meeting and conference rooms, a 300-seat performing arts center, a memorial garden, a pond and a 1,000-seat outdoor amphitheater.
The library is slated to open in March with two weeks of grand-opening events, which county officials hope will feature First Lady Barbara Bush in April.
Gala tickets cost $100 and can be obtained by calling Kobasiar at 868-3484 or by e-mailing to email@example.com.
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