Where: BabyLand General Hospital, 300 NOK Drive, Cleveland
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
How much: Free
More info: 706-865-2171
Kids born of cabbages may seem like an odd idea, but it’s one that has brought Cleveland-born Xavier Roberts much success since he began hand-sculpting what he called “Little People” in the late 1970s.
The name changed to Cabbage Patch Kids in 1983. Remember when everybody’s mother clamored for them that Christmas?
Since those early days, 121 million Kids have been “adopted,” from almost every continent in the world.
BabyLand General Hospital opened in 1978 in downtown Cleveland, but has recently moved just north of the town on Hulsey Road.
The move has not detracted visitors, who lined up by the thousands for the recent Magical Easter Eggstravaganza to hunt eggs and see the Kids’ new digs.
And after months of being unofficially open to the public, BabyLand General’s new location will have its Official Grand Opening on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We’re creating a nice, wonderful festival,” said Margaret McLean, director of public relations for Appalachian Artworks, BabyLand’s parent company. “We’re going to be having a lot of rides and things for children.”
It will all be free, according to McLean, including all the ingredients of any good party — cookies, ice cream and cupcakes.
At noon, Roberts himself will arrive in a “classic car motorcade,” which will include a 1914 Buick and a Studebaker truck, and Otis Lee — one very famous Kid.
McLean said Cabbage Patch Kid collectors love to see Otis Lee “because he is one of the early Little People, and Xavier adopted him.”
Roberts will sign soft sculpture Cabbage Patch Kids, but only ones “adopted” since May 2, after a ribbon cutting that will include Cleveland’s mayor, Donald Stanley, and county commissioners.
During the event, visitors can explore the 70,000-square-foot facility modeled after a Southern plantation home.
The new BabyLand includes familiar settings like a nursery that displays Preemies and Lullabye Babies, a “Father’s Waiting Room” with collectible Kids that can bring more than $15,000, and the Magic Crystal Tree, where the Kids are “born.”
BabyLand’s new location also includes a birthday party room and a ballroom, a “Fantasy Forest” and a “Clubhouse” tree house filled with “playing” Cabbage Patch Kids.
McLean said one new element of BabyLand is a Cabbage Patch Kid-sized NASCAR car, with NASCAR Kids as the crew.
There will no doubt be “births” during the grand opening, and children might get a chance to name one of the Kids, a practice carried over from the original BabyLand General.
Cabbage Patch Kid costume characters also will attend the event, and there will be rides, prize drawings, music, dancing and performances of “AHHHH Shot in the Arm: a Historical Vignette of Medicine in Georgia” by Folk Life Play of Lavonia.