Alli Event Center opens this month

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Family-run event center is filled with history

By Andrea Tritschler

As a young girl, Allison Tabor loved going to work at the Rice Mortuary with her dad, Pat Tabor. 

She would play, pretending the place was her castle and the circular stained-glass window was her princess window.

Today, the historic building at Third Avenue and Bush Street bears her name.

The Alli Event Center building has been in the community a long time. It has been St. Augustine Catholic Church, a county coroner’s office and most recently, a mortuary. Now it’s transformed again into an intimate event center in downtown Brighton.

Pat Tabor was a manager at the Rice Mortuary before buying the building in 2000. It operated as a mortuary for years, but after opening a new location, Pat and his wife, Chris had different plans for the space.

“We talked about it being an event center since Day 1,” Pat said, “But there were a lot of logistics to work out.”

Pat Tabor said he received many inquires about event space for funeral luncheons and other gatherings. He realized there wasn’t really a good place for that in Brighton, so he and his wife decided to create one. Chris Tabor will oversee all event planning and operations at the site.

While the couple plans to use the space for funeral luncheons, they also hope to get  business clientele and host events such as wedding receptions, baby showers and graduations.

“We’re really open to anything,” Chris Tabor said.

The family remodeled the historic building with new floors, new bathrooms, new lighting and ceiling work. There’s a new kitchen area and office and storage space, but many of the original elements remain. The building was built in 1887 as a Catholic church.

“We wanted to keep as much of the history intact as possible,” said Chris Tabor.

Stained-glass windows remain a highlight of the building, backlit by fluorescent lights. An earlier addition onto each side of the building blocked the natural light. The family also kept a few church pews, which have been shorted and modified to fit the front foyer space.

A patio behind the event center can hold another 70 to 80 people, doubling the capacity of the space.

Neighbors have supported the new space, Chris Tabor said. The Tabors have thought about the neighbors, too, saying that all events must end by 10 p.m.

“So many people in the community have memories here,” Chris Tabor said.

Alli Event Center is still under construction, but the “phone is already ringing off the hook” and a few events are planned already.

The first “official” event is a Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce’s “after dark” event on March 21, but the first event was actually a wedding, booked by Alison.

“It just feels like its come full circle,” Chris said.

The family spent more than $300,000 for renovations and furniture. A few finishing touches are still being added.

“When we told Allison about it, she was so proud and so excited,” Chris Tabor said. “We’re proud of it too.