Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
Bobby Brown -- yes, that Bobby Brown -- will be one of the first artists to grace the stage of Riverdale's new outdoor amphitheater, during a grand opening celebration for the Riverdale Center for the Arts, Business and Leisure Services, part of the new Riverdale Town Center.
The rhythm and blues icon, who brought forth such late '80s anthems as, "Don't Be Cruel," "My Prerogative," and "Every Little Step," will join Miki Howard and the "The 911 Band," in introducing the facility to the public.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and festival for the Riverdale Center for the Arts, Business and Leisure Services (also known as the Riverdale Community Center) will take place on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m., to 4 p.m. Following the ceremony -- from 8 to 11 p.m. -- the free concert featuring Brown, Howard, and The 911 Band will be held at the Town Center's outdoor amphitheater. A fireworks display will conclude the festivities.
Cie Cie McGhee, marketing and events specialist for the community center, said the ribbon-cutting ceremony will feature children's activities, food vendors, a business expo, and multicultural performances, including Polynesian fire dancers, a steel band, and reggae, rhythm and blues, and gospel artists.
During the festivities, attendees will be able to take tours of the new facility, which will offer space for artistic, business and recreational activities, she said.
"We wanted to introduce this new town center ... to be able to give the citizens of Riverdale something they can be proud of, something they can call their home," McGhee said. "It will bring awareness that the community center is open to the public. The public will have a chance to view the building and also take part in the festivities.
"We've been doing many concert series, but with the new state-of-the-art amphitheater, we want to bring great, notable entertainment," she continued. "For the residents of Riverdale, this will be the new downtown Riverdale. You won't have to travel far from your home to get great concerts [and] social activities."
Eric Thomas, manager of the new community center, said it will offer its members access to fitness, ballet, modern dance, and salsa courses, as well as to art and sculpture classes. Business entities and residents will also be able to use the space for meetings, weddings and other events.
"I think that it's going to be a great opportunity for the residents of Riverdale and the surrounding area to be able to participate in arts and culture right where they live, as opposed to traveling to the city or other places," Thomas said. "It's [the concert is] just a sampling of the kind of talent that we're able to bring to this area of the city with the new facility."
On Saturday, Oct. 16, starting at 11 a.m., the city will host Riverdale Community Day, an outdoor family festival, on the grounds of the Riverdale Town Center. The event will feature children's activities, marketplace vendors, and varied performances, according to organizers.
Following Riverdale Community Day, another free concert, featuring legendary soul and funk band, "Zapp," and rhythm and blues artist, Shirley Murdock, will take place -- starting at 8 p.m. -- at the Riverdale Town Center's outdoor amphitheater.
No coolers or carry-in food items are allowed at either of the free concerts. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, however.
The Riverdale Town Center is located near the corner of Wilson Road and Church Street, in Riverdale. For more information, call (770) 909-5303.