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Arts & Culture

Balboa Park Centennial Celebration Begins Wednesday

Shown in the photo is the Spreckles Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park.
Spreckels Organ Society
Shown in the photo is the Spreckles Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park.

Events to usher in the 100th anniversary year of Balboa Park are scheduled to get underway Wednesday.

The Spreckels Organ Centennial Concert is set to begin at 7 p.m., with a grand processional that will start at the Bea Evenson Fountain in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.

The concert will include performances by a 150-voice choir and two bagpipe bands, and will feature a world premiere composition by civic organist Carol Williams.

Also Wednesday, decorative lighting will be turned on along the Cabrillo Bridge, the span over state Route 163 that has been undergoing renovations.

On Thursday, the California Tower at the Museum of Man will open to the public for the first time since 1935.

"When we began discussing how San Diego would commemorate the centennial, I knew we had to celebrate with more than a sheet cake on the Plaza de Panama," said Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents the area. "The three events this week, the countless exhibits planned for the park's institutions, and the investment of more than $62 million into the park so far ensure that Balboa Park's history will be honored and its future will be strong."

The councilman said he is most excited about the tower opening. A ribbon- cutting is set for noon on New Year's Day.

Balboa Park first opened for the Panama-California Exhibition in 1915. The tower closed following a second exhibition 80 years ago.

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