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Bridge club members celebrate new location
Bridge enthusiasts, from left, Jane Southworth of Gainesville, Ted Smith of Cornelia, Caryl Carlson of Gainesville and Bob Bridges of Gainesville play Tuesday at the new Lanierland Duplicate Bridge Club building on McEver Road. Before moving into the new building in May, the bridge club met at the Masonic Lodge on Dawsonville Highway. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The Lanierland Duplicate Bridge Club is holding a grand opening Sunday to celebrate its new building and introduce people to the game of bridge.

The well-established club draws bridge enthusiasts from across the region to participate in its almost daily games.

Bridge is a popular competitive card game that is played in pairs and focuses on the skill of the players rather than the luck of the cards.

The Lanierland Duplicate Bridge Club recently moved from the Masonic Lodge on Dawsonville Highway to a new building at 3042 McEver Road, across from Free Chapel.

"We needed a place of our own," said club member Dick Nichols.

The club will hold its grand opening party on Sunday at 2 p.m. The event will offer refreshments and the chance to observe a game of bridge in action.

"We offer this opportunity to anybody that would like to come," said JoAnn Taylor, a longtime member of the club. "Just come and sit and watch."

Taylor said she hopes some young people will come to the event to learn about bridge.

"People have an idea that it’s just an old folks game," Taylor said.

Nichols said the club has around 140 members who play at varying skill levels. The club offers beginner and novice games as well as games for seasoned players every day of the week except for Sunday.

"It’s the best card game going," said Nichols, who started playing bridge after he retired in 2000. "Once you get into it you don’t get out."

That was the case for Mardy Fulenwider, who was a founding member of the club 45 years ago.

"I’m one of the last original members," Fulenwider said.

Even though there were times in her life when she wasn’t active in the club, she never lost interest in the game.

"I always went back," she said.

Nichols said the club members not only develop as bridge players but as friends too.

"It’s meant the world to me since I started," Nichols said. "We’re just a regular family, we look out for each other."

Taylor said she has learned many valuable lessons since she started playing bridge in 1986.

"The competition is not whether you’re dealt good hands," Taylor said. "It’s how well we play with what we get, which is exactly how it is in life."

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