Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The ceremonial ribbon-cutting to mark the grand opening of the expanded Mayo Civic Center took place in the largest ballroom in Minnesota.

The huge room can accommodate 4,000 people. A few hundred were there for Thursday’s ceremony and they heard from Mayor Ardell Brede and others before the ribbon was cut and the entertainment began - outside, on the brand new riverside plaza, featuring Rochester favorite Annie Mack.

It took several years to secure state funding to help pay for the expansion and renovation project. The state contribution covered just under half the $84-million cost. The local lodging tax will cover the rest.

Rochester businessman Joe Powers reminded the crowd no property taxes were used to pay for the project. Powers, speaking as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau, also said the expanded civic center will generate $20-million in annual economic activity.

After a few hours of entertainment, the celebration ended with a fireworks show.

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