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The Spirit of Nashville Day will be free to the public and is meant to celebrate the love and support that Nashvillians and friends around the world showed to the Opry when its longtime home was ravaged by the rising waters of the Cumberland River. Fans can get a look at the remodeled Opry house on October 2, when tours will be available through the auditorium, green room and dressing room areas.
The Band Perry will perform throughout the day on the Opry Plaza. There will be three Opry performances as the show returns for its first weekend back in the venue. The premier Grand Ole Opry performance in the refurbished house will be the prior Tuesday, September 28.
One updated feature will be brand-new, uniquely themed dressing rooms for Grand Ole Opry members and other guests who perform at the venue. A new entrance is also being built for performing artists, and fans can once again see the famous piece of wood that was cut from the Ryman Auditorium stage and placed at the new Opry House when it opened in 1974. Opry officials say that after the floods, more questions came in about that piece of oak than anything else regarding the Grand Ole Opry. Workers were able to rescue it right away, and it has been completely refurbished and is now resting back in its place on the Opry stage.
On October 8-9, the Opry will continue with its regular weekend performance, featuring an afternoon salute to comedy by Mike Snider and T. Bubba Bechtol. There will also be a free Opry Plaza party. The following Friday, on October 15, the Judds will perform for a night of 'Opry Goes Pink.' Wynonna and Naomi will literally flip the switch that gives the Opry's red backdrop a pink hue to support breast cancer awareness month. The second annual 'Opry Goes Pink' will benefit Women Rock for the Cure and the Greater Nashville affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Everyone who purchases a ticket for this show should use the code OpryPink,in order for $5 from each ticket to be donated to these non-profit charities.
Throughout the Opry's 85th birthday celebration, famous people who are fans of the radio show will be guest announcers on Friday and Saturday nights. Interestingly, every U.S. President from Richard Nixon through George W. Bush has participated in this longstanding tradition.
At the same time, the Opry is launching the "I'm With The Band" series. This new addition will invite celebrities who don't normally perform country music to sit in with the Grand Ole Opry band. Already signed on to participate are actor Kevin Costner, who released a country album in 2008, and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, wife of Brad Paisley.