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Country star booked for Davis gala

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Collin Raye

Collin Raye

LAYTON — Country superstar Collin Raye will be the headline act at Davis County's annual fundraising gala in September.

Proceeds from this year's gala, themed "Southern Romance," will benefit Davis Behavioral Health's Homes for the Homeless Project.

Past beneficiaries have been the Davis County Children's Justice Center, Hill Air Force Base and the arts of Davis County.

The gala, set for Sept. 4 at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, is the signature event held at the center since it opened in September 2004. A black-tie affair, it has attracted big names to its stage and generated more than $150,000 in donations.

A major piece of artwork by Clinton artist Brent Brimhall will also be unveiled at the gala.

But the gala isn't the first event to be held at the conference center this year. County officials will cut the ribbon May 2 on a $12 million, 42,000-square-foot exposition space that began construction in April 2007.

The expansion of the Davis Conference Center effectively doubles the space and makes room for larger conferences and expos, which officials hope will be drawn to Davis County, not only to help put the county on the map, but so exhibitors will spend money in local restaurants and hotels.

A 2006 feasibility study by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International indicated the conference center had enjoyed success and could reap more if it had additional exhibition space.

In 2006, the county missed out on at least $5 million in potential revenue, and 42 groups weren't booked into the conference center because of a lack of space.

"The expansion is now open," said Dave Hilliard, the center's catering manager. "We're moving in."

Tuesday, workers were setting floor tiles and doing other odd jobs to put the finishing touches on the center.

The center partnered with the Standard-Examiner newspaper, based in Ogden, to follow the May 2 ribbon cutting with a free-admission two-day outdoor recreation expo.

"We are showing off the space," Hilliard said.

The expo will feature more than 40 vendors including recreational vehicles, vacation destinations, all-terrain vehicles and rock climbing walls.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. in the center's Eclipse Expo Hall and will include remarks from various officials.

E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com