Port Of Long Beach To Celebrate 100th Birthday June 25

Free Event To Include Exhibits, Carnival Rides, Artists Entertainment And Speaker Panel

by Sean Belk, Staff Writer

To commemorate the Port of Long Beach’s storied history of 100 years, the port is hosting a day-long event of merriment, remembrance and celebration.

The port’s 100th birthday party on June 25, from 2:30 to 8 p.m. is similar to the celebration that took place a century ago, when the city put on a parade from Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard to Municipal Pier 1 (now Pier D, Berth 49). The free event open to the public is at the docks, just south of the Gerald Desmond Bridge at Ocean Boulevard and Pico Avenue.

“It’s an opportunity for people who have had any connection over the years with the port to help us celebrate the people who have created this port complex,” said Art Wong, Port of Long Beach spokesperson. “I’m hoping that families will bring their parents or grandparents down here, and look at our exhibits and share stories and see and understand all these changes that we’ve undergone over the decades to become what we are today and what we still hope to be in the future.”

The first ship officially docked at the city’s original municipal pier in the Long Beach Harbor on June 2, 1911, bringing redwood lumber aboard the S.S. Iaqua, a 200-foot-long steamship. Shortly after, the city agreed to operate the port on behalf of the State of California and history was made.

Since then, the port has grown to become one of the most powerful economic engines for the local region and United States as the premier gateway for trans-Pacific trade. It is considered one of the most progressive and busiest seaports around the world, moving more than $140 billion worth of goods through its facilities each year.

Over the years, the Port of Long Beach has grown from 800 acres on what was once a vast marshland to now more than 7,600 acres of wharves, state-of-the-art cargo terminals, roadways, rail yards and shipping channels. The port was once home to Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose, a Navy shipyard during World War II, and the backdrop for TV shows and action films.

The centennial celebration features actor Robert Wagner as the master of ceremonies. He is also the narrator for the port’s new documentary, called “Faces of the Port – Celebrating 100 Years,” which showcases individual accounts of the port’s history.

A panel discussion will be led by Mayor Bob Foster, Harbor Commission President Nick Sramek, former mayor Beverly O’Neill, former police chief Bill Ellis, and retired longshoreman Tony Salcido. The event is being moderated by longtime port reporter George Cunningham.

Other festivities include historical exhibits, a “memory lane” for visitors to share their own remembrances, photo exhibits, a Ferris wheel, carnival rides, games, free hot dogs and a performance by the Long Beach Municipal Band. For more information, visit http://www.polb. com/birthday.

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