San Francisco, Calif. (February 9, 2015) – Get Ready San Francisco Bay Area! The centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) officially kicks off the weekend of February 20th with three days filled with spectacular events, activities, exhibitions, historic light displays and entertainment for history buffs, innovators and families that will bring to life the spirit and innovation of the 1915 World’s Fair.
The main feature of the weekend events is PPIE100 Community Day, a free event for the public that begins at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, February 21th at the Palace of Fine Arts and boasts a celebration of music, arts, history and innovation ‑ all of the things that made the 1915 World’s Fair such a special moment for San Francisco and the World a century ago.
San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department is hosting PPIE100 Community Day, which begins with a grand opening ceremony. Celebrities and Fair attendees of the time — Buffalo Bill Cody, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, Michael H De Young, and aviator Art Smith – will be among the special guests, dignitaries and entertainment on hand to help officially re-open the grand doors of the Palace to the public.
Inside visitors will get to experience the beautiful Palace, transformed into Innovation Hangar (iHangar), a unique social innovation space that facilitates connections, ideas and investments in a way that simply cannot happen in the virtual world. iHangar will be open throughout the year to the public and feature new inventions and prototypes, hands-on educational activities and amazing exhibitions from Bay Area Discovery Museum, Kaboom, Smithsonian, Maker Media, Tech Museum, ARUP, Palace Escape and Wearable World Technologies, among others. Also featured is a 10,000 sq. ft. exhibition by the California Historical Society, “City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair” that shares the rich and remarkable history of the PPIE.
A broad array Bay Area cultural institutions, including the Fine Arts Museums San Francisco, Music In Schools Today, The Exploratorium, and Heyday Books, along with companies with connections to the original Fair (AT&T, Wells Fargo, and Ford Motor Company), will be featured, along with more than thirty other community organizations. Visitors will be able to see rare collections of PPIE artifacts, original 1915 Ford Model T’s, sit in a Wells Fargo stagecoach and take special period photos with historic treasures. Guardians of the City will feature three of the ten original fire engines from the Exposition. Author Laura Ackley will sign copies of her new book, San Francisco’s Jewel City.
There will be plenty of food, drinks and fun for all to enjoy. Special entertainment includes performances by the Academy Of Hawaiian Arts, Emeryville Taiko, Nemenzo Polynesian Dance Company, Jessica Recinos Featuring Soltrón, Mala Junta, the San Francisco Opera and Merola Opera Program.
At 3:00 p.m. a much-anticipated Uke-a-Thon begins under the Rotunda, where hundreds of professional and amateur Ukulele players, led by Ben Ahn, Hana hou 100, and Hiram Kaailau Bell, join special guests in a salute this amazing instrument, first introduced to the United States at the PPIE, sparking a “Uke” craze throughout the nation.
PPIE100 Community Day concludes Saturday evening with Palace After Dark from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. where the public can stroll the Palace Grounds and experience what it was like to be at the World’s Fair and enjoy a film and light installation by Optic Flare, made possible by a grant from Taube Philanthropies and the Friend family. The public will also be able to experience Palace After Dark on Friday evening from 9:00 – 10:00 p.m.
“We are thrilled to be re-opening the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts to the public and bringing together so many of San Francisco’s cultural, civic and business organizations to celebrate the 1915 World’s Fair and the innovation of Then, Now and Tomorrow,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, which manages the Palace of Fine Arts. “This is going to be an exciting, historic weekend with lots of fun, entertaining events for families to enjoy.”
Additional events taking place during PPIE100 opening weekend include: The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival 2015 Season “Under the Rotunda” at City Hall with dance and music from a myriad of world cultures honoring PPIE (Friday, 2/20 @ 12:00 Noon); The opening of the California Historical Society sister exhibit City Rising: San Francisco and The 1915 World’s Fair at 678 Mission Street — a stunning jewel-box show, highlighting the Fair’s history, beauty, complexity, and impact. (Sunday, 2/22, 12:00 Noon – 5:00 p.m.); and a Commonwealth Club panel discussion with historians and cultural leaders about PPIE. (2/23 @ 7:00 p.m.).
February 20, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the PPIE, celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco — its recovery from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire and its world trade potential. In commemoration of this seminal event in San Francisco history, CHS, together with RPD, Innovation Hangar and Maybeck Foundation are organizing a yearlong series of public events, exhibitions and activities, presented by more than 40 Bay Area cultural, civic and business organizations to reflect on PPIE’s historical significance and celebrate the innovations of “Then, Now and Tomorrow”.
AT&T is the presenting sponsor of PPIE100 with Hearst Corporation sponsoring the grand opening weekend. Other major support is being provided by Wells Fargo, Ford, Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, Sterling Bank/Seligman Family Foundation and Recology.
All the details for the weekend events can be found at www.PPIE100.org. This specially designed website has been created to bring together all the history, stories, special events, activities, partners and exhibitions taking place during the year-long PPIE100 centennial celebration. Follow PPIE100 on Twitter @PPIE100, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PPIE100.