The highly anticipated Santa Monica Place grand opening Friday, Aug. 6 drew between 3,000 and 4,000 people who waited in line for several hours to be among the first visitors to the newly renovated shopping center.

After a two year closure, the shopping mall opened to the public at 9:30 a.m. during an event that included special performances and festivities, as well as a limited gift card giveaway ranging from $10 to $500 for the first 500 people who arrived at the Third Street entrance, said Adrienne DeVore, senior manager of marketing for Santa Monica Place.

Some of the high-end retail shops also participated in giving gift cards of various amounts to people visiting their stores.

Officials at mall owner Macerich said that rather than conducting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 10 a.m. grand opening, beach balls were given to mall employees on the second and third floors of the center and following a signal from Art Coppola, the chief executive of Macerich, the beach balls were tossed into the air. They noted the ceremony was done this way to celebrate the fact that Santa Monica is a beach community.

Some of the shops and restaurants have not yet opened, but will plan to open within a few weeks.

Shop and restaurant information is online at: