Beginning this Thursday, Aug. 22, and continuing through Saturday the 24th, the Cross County Center at Yonkers, N.Y. becomes the 71-acre stage for the latest SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Sports Festival. Already this year the festival, at Gimbels-Cheltenham in Philadelphia, Old Orchard in Chicago and Northland in Detroit, has brought new attendance records to these outstanding examples of a mushrooming phenomenon in modern merchandising, the regional shopping center.
The Cross County Center, placed strategically at the intersection of two arterial highways, offers remarkable accessibility to the more than 750,000 inhabitants of the heavily populated region it serves. They "can't miss it." What they also can't miss, this week, are the 60-foot banners emblazoned on the strikingly contemporary buildings of its two largest tenants, Gimbels and Wanamakers, announcing to highway traffic the fact of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED festival.
For the thousands of shopping families who will see it during these three days, the festival is a sports spectacular with more than two dozen of the world's greatest sports stars in two arenas, which seat 2,000 spectators each. Among the performances: Bob Clotworthy diving into a specially constructed pool, with the skill that won a gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics; as counterpoint, clown divers Frank Campisi and Bobby Knapp splashing through their preposterous variations on the classic tucks, twists and pikes; George Mikan and Tom Gola shooting baskets; Archery Champion Ann Marston shooting arrows; Frank Parker and Don Budge playing tennis.
A popular phase of the festival, the clinics, brings the audience right onto the "field" as participants in live demonstrations of, for instance, football by Red Grange and Otto Graham, of baseball by Johnny Mize and Jackie Robinson, of weight lifting by Steve Klisanin, of hurdling, jumping and sprints by Jesse Owens.
In short, at Cross County, as at all the other shopping centers where it has appeared, the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED festival confirms again the happy marriage of the products of modern living with the pleasures of sport.
Olympic Star Clotworthy in action at sports festival at the Northland Shopping Center.