As many as 10,000 people are expected to visit the replica of Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park on Thursday in one of the state's largest birthday celebrations of the U.S. Constitution.
The free 1 p.m. event will follow a private swearing-in ceremony for 100 new U.S. citizens and will feature speeches, band music and a ceremonial signing of a replica of the 200-year-old document.
Among other planned Southern California bicentennial observances:
Thursday, Sept. 17
In Los Angeles, bands, speeches and balloons will highlight an 11:30 a.m. celebration at the Los Angeles County Mall. The free event, next to the county Hall of Administration, will run to 1 p.m.
A 20-minute ceremony will be held at Dodger Stadium between games of a double-header between the Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds. The show, expected to begin at 6:30 or 7 p.m., will include fireworks and the release of 300 white doves.
Beverly Hills will send a cavalcade of high school musicians and city officials to four public elementary schools beginning at 8 a.m. and ending about noon at the football field of Beverly Hills High School, 241 Moreno Drive. Former astronaut Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., the state's bicentennial chairman, will help host a ceremonial signing that will feature bands and singing groups. The event is free.
Camarillo is holding two prayer breakfasts, at 7 and 8:30 a.m. (reservations required, $5 per person) at the Camarillo Community Center, followed by a day of activities at newly named Constitution Park on Carmen Drive next to City Hall. Free events at the park include a "living museum" of artisans displaying crafts from the late 1700s, beginning at 10 a.m., and a band concert at 6:30 p.m. A program featuring singing and the dedication of the park will begin at 7:30.
Glendale will begin an hourlong commemoration of the Constitution, including speeches and music, at 2 p.m. at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Hollywood Hills. Highlighting the free event will be a speech by state Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk and entertainment by the Salvation Army Band and singer Dinah Shore.
At Imperial Valley College, festivities will include a swearing-in ceremony for 250 new citizens, a talk by state Supreme Court Justice John A. Arguelles and a performance by a Navy band. The free event, which begins at 7 p.m., is in the gymnasium of the college, 380 E. Aten Road, Imperial.
Palm Springs is expecting 6,000 visitors for a 7 p.m. musical extravaganza in Angels Stadium, the spring-training home of the California Angels. The stadium is at Sunrise Way and Barristo Road. The free event will conclude with a 9 p.m. fireworks show.
Rancho Cucamonga will hold an outdoor concert, with high school bands and drill teams, beginning at 5 p.m. at Red Hill Community Park at Baseline and Vineyard avenues. At 6 p.m., city officials will join performing groups to re-enact the signing of the Constitution. Families are encouraged to bring picnics for the free performances.
Redlands Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater in downtown Redlands, is expected to hold as many as 5,000 people for a free show with high school musicians and singing groups and speeches by local dignitaries. Picnic dinners will be sold on the grounds, between Eureka and Grand streets, and copies of the Constitution will be distributed.
San Diego will conduct a swearing-in ceremony for 250 new citizens beginning at 1 p.m. at Horton Plaza. The event will feature flags, speeches, music by a Marine Corps band and a release of balloons. A musical salute featuring the RB Chorale and other entertainment groups will be at the East Coast Performing Arts Center in El Cajon. Tickets for that event, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., are $3 in advance and $4 at the door.
Seal Beach is planning sunrise festivities on the beach, where bands and civic dignitaries will join nearly 2,000 volunteers who are creating a massive display of sand castles. The sand castles, honoring the Constitution, are set for completion and public viewing Saturday and next Sunday.
La Canada Masonic groups will present a half-hour band concert followed by a 90-minute stage presentation telling the story of the Constitution. The free program begins at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at La Canada High School, 4463 Oak Grove Drive, La Canada.
Saturday, Sept. 19
Gardena has scheduled a mile-long parade of youth and community groups along 162nd Street from Normandie to Western avenues beginning at 10 a.m. A free civic ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in front of the Gardena Community Center, 1700 W. 162nd St., where officials will dedicate a display of historic documents from the city library. Refreshments will be served.
Indio is holding a musical celebration by school bands and singing groups at Indio High School. The free show starts at 7 p.m.
In Los Angeles, USC will present a show honoring the Constitution at half time of the football game between USC and Boston College, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the Coliseum. The event will feature bands and card stunts.