Idaho Falls — The long-awaited day has arrived: The Mountain America Center opened its doors Monday and the public can explore.
The media was invited to attend a VIP opening ceremony with about 500 other people at the Blue Cross of Idaho Conference Center.
“This is a day to celebrate. I couldn’t stop smiling all day. My heart is full,” said Terry Gazdik, president of the Idaho Falls Auditorium.
Mayor Rebecca Casper presented an official City of Idaho Falls proclamation in front of the Mountain America Center. A red ribbon was then cut to officially open the center to the public at noon.
The building provides 27,000 square feet of event space within the Hero Arena, along with an additional 11,000 square feet of meeting space in the Blue Cross of Idaho Conference Center.
Mountain America Center is home to the Idaho Falls Spud Kings — a USPHL Junior A ice hockey franchise — and can host events with a capacity of 6,000 guests.
“The Mountain America Center will serve our region for generations to come, improving lives, stimulating the economy and serving as a place where we can come together as a community and celebrate events,” said Courtney Liddiard, CEO of Ball Ventures LLC. “It’s going to be a huge draw for our region, maybe Montana and Wyoming.”
The public is invited to Monday’s grand opening, which runs until 7 p.m. Guests can enjoy guided tours of the entire facility and will be able to meet the Idaho Falls Spud Kings hockey players. Guests can also try the concession stands.
There is no admission charge for the event, although food and drink will be available for purchase.
“We wanted a unique brand for our building. Not just hot dogs, not just hamburgers. We wanted a unique restaurant experience,” said Eric Hudson, Mountain America Center General Manager. “All food and drink in this building is produced in-house.”
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These concession stands include Eagle Rock Burgers & Brews, ToPo Tato, Crafty Pete’s Pie Shack, El Flamingo Tacos and Coyote Country Barbecue.
Hudson said the center’s possibilities are endless. High school athletes can come and participate in tournaments. The ice rink can be turned into a dirt-filled venue for events like motocross, monster trucks and rodeos.
“If you like concerts, live music, Cirque du Soleil and Disney on Ice, this facility will have it. It’s something we can be extremely proud of in a community like Idaho Falls,” Hudson said. “We have something for everyone!”
The first inaugural concert at the Mountain America Center will be held on Wednesday with Big & Rich at 7:00 p.m. The Idaho Falls Spud Kings will play their first home game on Friday against the Utah Outliers.
“I think we have an event announcement at least once a week for the next eight weeks. So please get ready to rock and roll. We have a classic rock act on Friday that will blow the doors off this place!” Hudson said.
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