It's a Golden Gate Weekend in the Golden State. There are parades, county fairs, memorial services and outdoor barbecues in Patch communities all over the Bay Area, but nothing matches the Memorial Day Weekend activities at Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday, May 27.
The 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Bridge's completion dates from the week long bridge-opening celebration that began on May 27, 1937. At the next big celebration 50 years later, the center span of the bridge looked in danger of collapsing when it sank seven feet under the weight of celebrating pedestrians.
This year, as every year, most of the concerned is over the weather. Thuderstorms, rainfall and cooler weather is supposed to hit San Francisco over the weekend, but hopefully clearing by Saturday afternoon. Which should leave clear skies ahead for the Bridge's birthday party - hopefully free of the seasonal foggy gloom.
Details of the bridge's 75th anniversary festival are found on the festival's website. It will be an all-day affair starting around 10 a.m. and continuing through the night until about 11 p.m.
The main activities and merchandise areas will be held at Fort Point, Crissy Field, The Presidio and Marina Green. Additional happenings and exhibits will also be held at Fort Mason Center, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Maritime Historical National Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Pier 39. Check the Event Page on the festival's website for highlights.
A few tips on the event, should you choose to attend:
- Admission is free.
- There will be no event parking. Please take public transit, walk, or bike instead - there will be free bicycle parking.
- This is a no alcohol event, period.
- Dogs on a leash
- Bring water, be prepared to walk, bring extra layers if you're planning on staying for the fireworks
Did someone say fireworks? Adult album alternative radio KFOG-FM in the San Francisco is sponsoring one of their "Ka-Booms!" in a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m., synched with tunes played on the radio. The fireworks display will not be televised, so being there is the next best thing.
Organizers recommend heading to the waterfront along Fort Point to the Marina Green for best visibility or across the bridge in the Marin Headlands. Hilly spots in the Marina and Cow Hollow neighborhoods should also provide optimal views of the show. The fireworks will not be visible from Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and further down the Embarcadero.
Unlike the 50th anniversary there will be no bridge walk this year. According to this article in the Marin IJ, this is what happened.
On May 24, 1987, 300,000 people were stuck in human gridlock for hours while getting a rare chance to cross the 1.7-mile bridge en masse on foot to celebrate the bridge's golden anniversary. Officials quickly closed the bridge, so a half-million other people waiting to cross never got the chance. Still, the enormous, unprecedented weight caused the middle of the bridge to sag 7 feet.
Accordingly, the bridge span will be open as usual for cars throughout the day and for most of the night. It will be closed to traffic during the 9 - 10 p.m. period, to prevent distracted driving accidents during the fireworks show.
The pedestrian walkways will be open until 6 p.m. and reopen by 10, after the fireworks end.
If you're headed into the City for the festivities, or passing through on your way elsewhere for the weekend, check traffic conditions regularly through calling 511 (711 for TDD) or www.511.org, or consult the live traffic map at Patch Commute.
Just in case, if you have a favorite photo of the Bridge add it to this story, along with some of the historic images we dug up. It could be fun.