Whole Foods opening

The first hundred customers walk in Wednesday during the grand opening of the new Whole Foods Market store at the 2ND & PCH Shopping Center.

Barricades are down, shades are up and cash registers are ringing today, Thursday after dignitaries cut the ribbon at 2ND & PCH, the long anticipated and debated commercial center at the corner of Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

Some of the stores and eateries at the 11-acre, two-story center still are a ways away from opening. But the center's anchor, Whole Foods, opened its 45,000-square-foot store on Wednesday, Oct. 23, and developer CenterCal officials promise plenty to keep visitors busy in four days of opening hoopla, from giveaways to free concerts.

Whole Foods gave out swag bags and gift cards with varying amounts to the first shoppers Wednesday, and the first 200 arrivals at 2nd & PCH today, Thursday (8-10 a.m.) will receive a Golden Ticket swag bag from the center with giveaways, discounts and more. The officials will congregate at 10 a.m. for speeches and a ribbon cutting. Developer CenterCal's president, Jean Paul Wardy, will be on hand, and city officials, elected and appointed, will help cut the ribbon, among others.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, Pow!Wow! mural event founder Jasper Wong and some of his artists will be on hand to talk about the murals that grace areas of the center. The rest of the day will include individual retailer events, art tours and more, spokesperson Annie Goldenberg said. A free concert by Common Sense at 7 p.m. will wrap up the first day.

On Friday, retailer events and character meet and greets will take up the day. A free screening of the Halloween classic "Hocus Pocus" will usher in the last weekend before Halloween starting at 6:30 p.m.

There will be free Pink Fong/Baby Shark shows at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday along with other special events for the family, with an Adam Topol & Matt Costas concert starting at 6 p.m. Sunday will wrap up the opening festivities with a Long Beach Music Showcase starting at noon and running to 7 p.m. There also will be a beer garden and games that day.

There are more than 1,000 parking spaces on the property, and parking will be free all weekend. The center's address is 6400 E. Pacific Coast Highway, but there are entrances from northbound Second Street and Marina Drive as well. For more information, go to www.2ndandpch.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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