A little birdie told me that today was the 29th anniversary of the Bell County Expo Center, so I went to the Temple Public Library to do some research. I found some really cool artifacts from the Expo’s Grand Opening Gala, but I had the wrong date.

The gala was held on Thursday, May 21, 1987 and featured a concert headlined by Marie Osmond, the Osmond Brothers, and the Osmond Boys.

Osmonds everywhere!

The event raised over $10,000 for Scott & White Pediatric Services through the Children’s Miracle Network. The gala’s benefit dinner cost $100 per ticket and drew around 300 people who chowed down on prime rib.

Around 3,000 people showed up for the Osmond concert, which became the first of many big acts to perform in the Expo Arena. George Strait, Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top, Garth Brooks, and many more huge acts would rock the arena in the years to come.

I also found a great information packet explaining where, when, how, and why the Expo was going to be built. I wasn’t even a year old when it opened, so I’ve grown up attending concerts, rodeos, and even ice hockey games at the Expo. The idea that people had to be sold on the thing never even occurred to me.

The packet included floor plans for the arena, the ag barn, and the exposition building, as well as a suggestion post card.

Also on file were clippings and a massive insert from the Temple Daily Telegram getting people hyped about the Expo Center and everything it could mean to Central Texas.

I have to give a special thanks to the Temple Public Library for allowing me to raid their archive room. I will be doing a lot of that in the months to come!

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