As seen in The Gainesville Sun on November 2, 2016 by Anthony Clark.
If he wanted to, NASCAR star Tony Stewart could drive over the new bridge over Interstate 75 when he visits the new Bass Pro Shops Sportsman’s Center in Gainesville next Wednesday, provided his car was street legal.
Two upcoming events will herald the impending opening of the long-awaited Celebration Pointe development, including a charity bridge walk and fall festival Saturday and Bass Pro Shops’ grand opening Wednesday evening featuring appearances by celebrity sportsmen and NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr.
The Celebration Pointe Bridge Walk & Fall Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with music, food trucks, a ribbon-cutting and a commemorative walk over the bridge to raise money for the Child Advocacy Center, which provides services to abused, neglected and trafficked children.
The festival will be held at the end of Southwest 45th Street, the main road into Celebration Pointe off Archer Road. The walk starts at 11 a.m. and participants can register for $15, or $5 for ages 5-12, starting at 10 a.m. or through http://tinyurl.com/zdrkkpx. For details, contact Amber Miller at 376-9161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the bridge will be open to walkers Saturday, it isn’t scheduled to open to vehicular traffic until Sunday.
Developer Svein Dyrkolbotn of Viking Companies said this festival will be the first of many events held at Celebration Pointe.
“It’s always been our mission to use our project for opportunities to benefit the community,” he said.
Bass Pro, the development’s anchor tenant, will hold its grand opening event, called Evening for Conservation, starting at 6 p.m. Nov. 9. The event will include a ribbon-cutting and celebrity appearances. Vendor exhibits and giveaways will continue through Nov. 13.
Celebrities will sign autographs from approximately 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The first 400 to receive wristbands prior to 6 p.m. can get autographs from Stewart and Truex.
Other celebrities include Bassmaster champion Kevin VanDam, the host of TV’s “Jimmy Houston Outdoors,” Allie LaForce of SEC on CBS, the host of TV’s “George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing,” Peter Miller of NBC Sports’ “Bass 2 Billfish,” TJ Ott of “Wicked Tuna,” former Miami Dolphin and pro fisherman Kendall Newson, Pedro Sors of TV’s “Con Cana y Carrete,” and Rob Keck of radio’s “Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World,”
Stewart’s and Truex’s Bass Pro-sponsored Sprint Cub cars will be on display.
Half of all proceeds spent Wednesday night will be donated to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, the Everglades Foundation and Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. Local conservation groups and agencies also will participate.