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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41)----On Saturday evening there will certainly be a big celebration going on at the Ali Center for Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday party, but on Friday, it was all about getting ready for the main event.
From microphone checks, to getting tables ready, and finding the best place for the programs, work was underway on Friday to get ready for the party and fundraiser.
"We've spent many, many hours and many days, weeks, and months preparing for this. And we wanted to create it so that it would be really special for Muhammad," says Jeanie Kahnke with the Muhammad Ali Center.
One of the people most excited for the event, is chef David Barrett, who says Ali requested food with a local and southern flare.
He says two of the items on the menu are shrimp and grits, and filet minion.
"It's such a huge honor being able to prepare some of Muhammad Ali's favorite foods. He was one of my childhood heroes growing up," says Chef David Barrett with Hyatt Regency Louisville.
While he says there will be a lot to eat, the cake is the big deal.
"White chiffon cake with a white butter cream. And it's themed after one of his favorite sayings "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee", so the cake will be decorated with bees and butterflies," says Chef Barrett.
Preparations are also underway in the gift shop, where shirts are being placed out to buy marking the heavyweight champion's birthday.
The birthday party and fundraiser will also include some familiar faces: Journalists Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Bryant Gumbel; ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon; Three-time heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis; Screenwriter Greg Howard; Grammy Award-winning musician David Foster; Musician John Mellencamp; UofL coaches Rick Pitino and Charlie Strong; UK Coach John Calipari; American hikers held in Iran: Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd; American Idol singer Pia Toscano; Australian singer-songwriter Michael Johns, Ali's longtime trainer Angelo Dundee, and many more.
Saturday's event is a private event and fundraiser for the Ali Center, but there will be more activities going on throughout the week.