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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Celebration Planned for Pier Opening

April 02, 1992|JOHN PENNER

The long-awaited opening of the new municipal pier has been tentatively set for July 18, officials announced this week.

The City Council on Monday will consider formally approving the date, which would be the first time in four years that the public has been allowed to stroll on the Huntington Beach Pier.

As the $12.4-million pier reconstruction project winds down, officials are planning a three-day celebration to commemorate its opening.

Pierfest '92, as the event is called, is scheduled to begin at noon July 17 and run through July 19. The celebration will feature live entertainment, aquatic shows, sporting events, a vintage car show and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The committee coordinating the event is seeking sponsorships to pay for the celebration. The group hopes to raise $75,000 to throw a pier bash that is expected to attract visitors statewide, said committee chairman Paul Cook. Cook was Huntington Beach's city administrator in July, 1988, when the pier was officially closed after being pummeled by winter storms.

"I had the displeasure to close the pier, so now I'm getting the pleasure to open it up again," Cook said.

During the four years the pier has been closed, Huntington Beach has been without its chief landmark--which had been there since 1914--and downtown merchants have suffered because crowds have decreased. Gone are the visitors who had walked along the pier and then strolled down Main Street.

"After all this trauma we've been through, we're going to make up for it with a pier party to end all parties," Cook said.

As planned, the Pierfest '92 weekend will begin July 17 with afternoon beach events, followed by an invitational dinner. Later that night, Mayor Jim Silva will ceremonially flip the switch to light up the new pier.

At 10 a.m. July 18, after the ribbon-cutting, the public will get its first chance to walk on the new pier.

For the rest of the weekend, a series of events will be held on the beach, in the ocean and along Main Street, which will be closed to motorists for the event.

Events being planned for Main Street will feature a vintage car show, musicians, dancers, street performers and other entertainers.

Officials are hoping to tie the pier opening with the 10th anniversary of Huntington Beach's relationship with its sister city, Anjo, Japan. As planned, 50 musicians and other performers from Anjo will join in the Pierfest festivities.

To help raise money for Pierfest '92, a benefit surf concert has been scheduled June 28 at the Huntington Beach High School football stadium. The concert, from 3 to 7 p.m., will feature Jan & Dean, Dick Dale & the Deltones, the Surfaris, the Chantays, the Malibus and Papa Doo Run Run.

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