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Going for the gold

History center Family Day focuses on ’96 Olympics

POSTED: June 7, 2012 12:30 a.m.

The Northeast Georgia History Center is going for the gold with this month’s Family Day.

The free event, “Southern Style Olympics: 1996 and Now”, will take place from 1-4 p.m. June 10 at the center, 322 Academy St. NE in Gainesville.

“With all of the anticipation building for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, now seemed like a good idea to remind people that we were very successful in hosting the rowing and kayaking events (for the 1996 Olympics) at our venue,” said Julie Carson, history center education and volunteer coordinator.

“It took a lot of people working together to make that happen.”

Although the crowds have long gone, many Gainesville residents can recall when the city rolled out the red carpet for the world-class athletes. The Lake Lanier Olympic venue off Clarks Bridge Road stands as a testament to the efforts that went into turning Gainesville into a gracious host.

“Some of our history center volunteers were also volunteers at the Olympics,” Carson said.

“The stories they tell are really interesting.”

On Sunday, history center can expect to revive old memories of the games and to create some new ones. The center’s staff have dug into the archives to revive a few of the Olympic artifacts from a previous exhibit, but they’re also supplementing displays with new information.

“We have some old Olympic Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, a collection of pins and, of course, Izzy — the mascot of the ‘96 games,” Carson said.

Kids will have the opportunity to participate in a number of hands-on activities like designing their own Olympic pin.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Carson said.

Just as Olympic athletes test their endurance and abilities during the games, so will Family Day attendees. There will be a variety of athletic events, including: watermelon seed spitting, a parent and child three-legged race and a bean bag toss.

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