It was August 6,1981 and the first expansion of The Mall in Columbia was just
about to open. One of the community groups was a troupe of the most adorable tap dancers seen here in this photo.
To mark the occasion an entire wall of balloons had been constructed between the
existing mall and the new expansion. A huge cake in the shape of the mall’s
iconic pyramid had been created by a bakery in the mall and was waiting to be
devoured by the crowds. During the morning before the opening I had my first
encounter with Jim Rouse as he wondered into the marketing room looking for
what was being done “backstage” and to see what mementoes were available.
And yes, he had on his traditional plaid jacket and was wonderfully personable.
Four stages were set up throughout the mall and for 10 days they were filled with
countless community musical and dancing groups as the entire entertainment
budget for the opening period was only $4,000!
Over 50,000 people visited The Mall in Columbia that opening day. The crowds were
so great that we ran out of the branded napkins we had specially made to use to
pass out the cake to customers. When I returned to the cake with extra napkins
donated by the food retailers, there was my dear sweet grandmother holding out
her hand for a piece of cake to be placed on it!! Yes, it was day of many