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Events: PPIE 100th Anniversary

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PPIE Community Day

FEBRUARY 21, 2015

Noon - 5:00 PM

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

The 100th Anniversary of the Opening of The Panama-Pacific International Exposition

On February 20, 1915, the gates were thrown open to the Panama Pacific International Exposition, the official opening celebration of the newly completed Panama Canal. Hailed by some as the most wondrous world fair of all time, the PPIE boasted 635 acres of palaces, gardens, exhibitions, art and music, amusements, livestock shows, feats of daring, and innovations that heralded the future. Historic figures from all walks of life visited the fair, along with more than 19 million others during its nine month run. The PPIE also proclaimed San Francisco’s miraculous rebirth after the 1906 earthquake and marked California’s emergence as an international powerhouse and player on the Pacific Rim

On February 21, 2015, THE CENTENNIAL COMMUNITY DAY will honor the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and will kick-off a year of Centennial events.


On this evening, the exterior of the Palace of Fire Arts will be illuminated in striking colors, just as it was 100 years ago, recreating the ambiance of opening day in 1915.  Once inside enjoy music, and a fabulous light and film installation by Optic Flare.  Food and drink available from local purveyors.

The Guardians of The City have marshaled three of the four known existing units from the Exposition Fire Department for this events.  In addition, the GOTC will present a photographic exhibit of the PPIE fire, police, and health departments.


Truck Co. No. 1 - from the San Jose Fire Museum
1914 American LaFrance, Type 26, registration #539, 2 axle 85' tillered Aerial Ladder with a front drive 4 cylinder bore  5½”, stroke 6”, 48 HP A.L.A.M. rating, 70 HP engine.

Engine Co. No. 2 - from the Lindsay Fire Museum
1914 American LaFrance, Type-12, registration #541, Combination 700 gm rotary gear pumper with a 6 cylinder 100 HP engine.

Hose Co. No. 2 - from the Winters Fire Department
1914 American LaFrance, Type-12, registration #545, Turret/Hose Wagon with a 6 cylinder 100 HP engine.

Hosetender Co. No. 6 - from the San Francisco Fire Museum 
This unit was intended for Exposition Fire Department, but between the time of the order and the arrival in San Francisco, the Exposition Company decided not to add additional units to  their department.  The Hose Wagon was then sold to the San Francisco Fire Department.

We will be easy to find.  We will be in the center of the Pavilion.


Noon - Opening Ceremony under the Rotunda attended by civic dignitaries and c.1915 Fair attendees Buffalo Bill Cody, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, Michael H de Young, aviator Art Smith and more.

Noon - 5:00 PM  Musical Performances by talented community organizations  including  The Academy of Hawaiian Arts, Emeryville Taiko, Nemenzo Polynesian Dance Company, Jessica Recinos Featuring SolTrón, Mala Junta, and the San Francisco Opera Merola Opera Program.

Noon - 5:00 PM Exhibitions, activities, music, performances, displays in the Palace of Fine Arts, enlivened and occupied throughout the year by the Innovation Hangar. A broad array Bay Area cultural organizations, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Music in Schools Today, and The Exploratorium, Heyday Books, and companies with connections to the original fair (AT&T, Wells Fargo, Hearst Corporation and Ford Motor Company) will come together that day as the California Historical Society opens its 10,000 square foot exhibition on the PPIE history and is joined by the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Kaboom, Smithsonian, Maker Faire, Tech Museum, and Wearable World Technologies. See an original 1915 Ford Model T and sit in a Wells Fargo Stagecoach! Guardians of the City will also feature three of the ten original fire engines actually from the Exposition. View rare collections of PPIE artifacts and meet author Laura Ackley who will sign copies of her book, San Francisco’s Jewel City.

3:00 PM - Uke- A-thon under the Rotunda - featuring  Ben Ahn, Hana Hou 100, Hiram Kaailau Bell,and other special guests.  All are welcome.  Lessons, dancing, fun!

7:00 - 10:00 PM

Stroll the Palace grounds-- experience what it was like to be at the Exposition and enjoy a film and light installation by Optic Flare in the Palace of Fine Arts Theater lobby. Refreshments from local purveyors will be available for purchase. Made possible by a grant from Taube Philanthropies with additional funding from The Friend Family.

The 100th Anniversary of the Opening of The Panama-Pacific International Exposition Home Page
Check here for all of the Bay Area's 2015 Anniversary Events.

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