If musicians like George Strait, The Osmonds, ZZ Top, Lone Star and Mercy Me have anything in common with the listening tastes of Central Texans, then it’s likely they’ve shared a common experience of a sold-out concert at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton.

As it’s grown, however, the center now plays host to more than just rodeos, tractor pulls and dog shows by hosting a wide variety of meetings, parties, conventions, graduations and concerts. From large crowds and small groups, to the simplest needs of a central place where people can gather for whatever reason are synonymous with the facilities available at the Bell County Expo Center.

Mitch Jacobs, president of the Expo Center’s Board of Directors, was the featured speaker at the April 15 meeting of the Heights Kiwanis Club.

He dropped that little bit of trivia on the crowd about the Osmond Brothers appearing at the dome on the hill.

“Location is our key to success and it’s what makes this place attractive,” Jacobs said.

The Bell County Commissioners Court selected the location in 1987.

“The 29,000-square-foot arena is named (after the late Judge John Garth) because of his belief that there was not a place that had better potential for expansion than right off Interstate 35,” Jacobs said.

The Garth Arena is the ideal environment for rodeos, livestock, equestrian and dog shows, conventions, college and high school graduations, banquets and concerts.

The exposition building has a covered outdoor arena and permanent indoor dirt arena and exhibit area with 55,000 square feet of space and a complete state-of-the-art lighting system.

The assembly hall can accommodate a banquet, seminar, dance, or as the name implies, space for any kind of assembly.

“Why do we have the Bell County Expo Center?” Jacobs asked the group. “The reasons are two-fold. First is quality of life such as graduations, the Central Texas State Fair, concerts, and the Bell County Youth Fair. The second reason we exist is economic impact, and it is huge.”

Based on conservative estimates, the center has an economic impact of $9 million to $13 million for Belton and surrounding communities, Jacobs said.

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