ATHENS, Ga. – The first annual Christmas at The Classic Center festival raised more than $17,500 for the nonprofit Extra Special People and attracted more than 5,605 attendees.
The nine-day festival held Dec. 14-22 Christmas at The Classic Center featured ice skating, a Festival of Trees, pictures with Santa and other holiday activities.Extra Special People strives to enhance the lives of young people with developmental disabilities in nine Northeast Georgia counties.
Laura Whitaker, executive director of Extra Special People, said the festival was a perfect match for the group’s mission.
“It's only through community events and partnerships like Christmas at The Classic Center that we will one day no longer have to turn away children,” she said. “We are so thankful for the leap of courage it took The Classic Center to put on the event, and we look forward to seeing many local families in years to come as we continue to build memories while making a difference together."
One of the biggest attractions of the festival was The Classic Center’s new ice rink – the only one of its kind in Athens. More than 4,315 people skated over the nine days, averaging 479 people per day.
“We’re thrilled not only to have raised so much money for Extra Special People, but also to have brought record numbers of people downtown during the holidays,” said Paul Cramer, executive director of The Classic Center. “We look forward to making Christmas at The Classic Center an annual event.”
This was the first time The Classic Center has offered ice skating. The Classic Center will celebrate the grand opening of its ice rink in April with an ice show and UGA Ice Dogs hockey game.
Next holiday season, The Classic Center plans to offer more public ice skating sessions. Stay tuned for details at ClassicCenterChristmas.com.