The Corner Block Party kicked off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, with a dedication ceremony for Samford Park Plaza and the new Toomer’s Oaks.
Master of Ceremony Thom Gossom Jr. was joined on the Auburn Airwaves stage by Auburn University President Jay Gogue, football coach Gus Malzahn, basketball Coach Bruce Pearl and Vice President of Student Affairs Bobby Woodard as Auburn Mayor Bill Ham cut the ribbon.
After the ribbon cutting, Gossom explained how the tradition of rolling the trees began.
“Legend has it that the tradition we know of rolling the oak trees began when the only way to learn of the team’s away victories was to get it via telegraph,” Gossom said. “The only telegraph in the city was at Toomer’s Drugstore. When the store’s employees would receive news of a victory, they would throw the ticker tape from the telegraph on the power lines at this intersection.”
Gossom took a moment to talk about the new “Because this is Auburn” campaign.
“This afternoon, the University kicked off the public phase of an ambitious $1 billion campaign to fund the future of Auburn University,” Gossom said. “Today, we have raised $775 million dollars, more than 75 percent of that goal.”
Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn also spoke at the ceremony.
“One of the great traditions here at Auburn is rolling these Toomer’s Oaks,” Malzahn said. “Next year, we’re going to have to redshirt them.”
Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl promised to put the new trees to good use.
“We’ve got to give these trees a little bit of rest," Pearl said, "but I promise you, men’s basketball is going to give you a reason to roll those suckers.”
The ceremony ended with a performance by the Auburn University Marching Band, Auburn University Cheerleaders, Tiger Paws and Aubie.