EL PASO, Texas -

As if the people watching at malls weren't entertaining enough -- the Fountains at Farah three-day "splash opening" festivities kicked off Friday.

Mall construction created 3,500 jobs, and when all the tenant space is filled, developers said the mall will employ about 2,000 people -- giving developers reason to celebrate.

"It's a nice change," said shopper Jose Ricard. "We have the outlet mall, but this is much more interactive, and I think it's just nicer."

Things got a little psychedelic Friday night -- live Stevie Wonder tunes, minute-long saxophone solos and neon strobe lights will do that. But at Fountains, patrons said there's something for Sly and the entire family Stone.

"A family event that I can go with my daughter to, it's awesome, I love it," said shopper Angel Munoz.

Kids somehow weren't creeped out by the stilt walkers, there was plenty of parking and blister-resting areas for the parents, and you know you're doing something right when the gum-chewing teenyboppers approve.

"It feels like Christmas," said Paulina Medilla, 15, who took a liking to Charlotte Russe.

"They've got everything from the sporting-goods store to Best Buy to Complete Nutrition," Munoz said. "Even PetSmart."

Everybody was soaking in all 600,000 square feet, two levels of shops, restaurants and -- how fitting -- fountains.

"This is amazing," Munoz said. "I love the architecture, the designs, I love how they have the entertainment."

Plus the amphitheater -- near there beginning Nov. 22, there will be an ice-skating rink for the holidays.

Social-media users have been skeptical of the shops being offered at the new mall, but developers said once shoppers try new stores, they'll have a change of heart.

"This is not about a shopping center," said Centergy Retail President West Miller. "It's part of your live, work, play environment."

Mall owner Paul Foster said he wanted to create a family-friendly entertainment venue, "whether they spend money here or not, which we hope they do."

"I'll tell ya," said El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez. "It's a heckuva lot better than the warehouse that used to be here before."

Fountains has events planned all weekend long. Links to the full schedule and a photo gallery are available at KVIA.com under "Links Mentioned."