Friday, October 16, 2009

Bright Future Coming to San Bernardino

San Bernardino's Bicentennial Celebration logo is illustrated with some of San Bernardino’s best resources over the centuries, including arrowheads, orange groves, mountains, transportation ranging from a horse-drawn wagon to an airplane and a high-speed train, landmark buildings California Theater and Vanir Tower, and people. It will be more prevalent in San Bernardino in 2010, as the city will celebrate the 200th anniversary of San Bernardino's founding from January through July.

(SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF.) In 2010, San Bernardino will be in the spotlight as it turns 200 years old.

San Bernardino first became known as such on May 20, 1810 – the day tradition has it Father Francisco Dumetz made his last trip from Mission San Gabriel to the San Bernardino Valley to set up a new community. Padre Dumetz named the area "San Bernardino" after Saint Bernardine of Siena, the patron saint of the day on the Catholic calendar.

That’s certainly worthy of a great celebration. But San Bernardino’s Bicentennial Celebration Committee isn’t going to stop at just one day. It’s planning a celebration lasting from January through July.

 “San Bernardino has a significant history, going back to the naming of this valley in 1810,” said Rabbi Hillel Cohn, chairman of the San Bernardino Bicentennial Celebration Committee. “Since that time it has become a city with a richly diverse population. It is now time to celebrate that past, but also a future we believe will be filled with progress.”

The celebration actually began in May 2009, when San Bernardino celebrated its 199th birthday. On that date, Mayor Pat Morris unveiled a new Bicentennial Logo with the motto “A Rich History. A Bright Future.”

This logo is illustrated with some of San Bernardino’s best resources over the centuries, including arrowheads, orange groves, mountains, transportation ranging from a horse-drawn wagon to an airplane and a high-speed train, landmark buildings California Theater and Vanir Tower, and people.

In January, that logo will become more familiar when the city begins hanging street flags and banners promoting the Bicentennial Celebration.

“Our goal is to blanket the city with banners,” said Erin Brinker, public relations chair for the Bicentennial Celebration Committee. There will also be opportunities for local businesses to sponsor the flags and have their names proudly displayed around the city. 

Events begin the following month, starting with performances of “The Legends of the Arrowhead “ on February 17 and 18  at the California Theater. There will be both matinee and evening performances.

This play is being produced by the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency but is based on an award-winning musical created by former San Bernardino residents Bill and Heather McCluskey in 1992. Heather McCluskey is now a nationally-known recording star in Nashville, TN, but says she got her start with her tribute to San Bernardino.

Starting March 1, 2010, volunteers will plant 200 new trees in neighborhoods throughout the city. California State University, San Bernardino students and members of local service clubs have already lined up to help.

In April 2010, a neighborhood beautification contest is planned. Each of the seven city wards will select a project to receive special attention from their neighbors and other volunteers over the four weekends in April. Local restaurants will donate food to the volunteers, and at month’s end, the Bicentennial Celebration Committee will award a prize to the best project.

Meanwhile, the committee encourages other home and business owners to do their part to spruce up their own property.

May 2010 is the biggest month of celebration, with events taking place all month.

Saturday, May 1, the San Bernardino Symphony will pay tribute to the city and to the Community Hospital of San Bernardino, which will be celebrating its centennial. Prior to the concert, symphony keyboard player Michael Tacchia will give an informative and entertaining lecture.

“Don’t miss this unique chance to be part of a celebration as we pull out all the stops in a bicentennial tribute to the City of San Bernardino,” says Conductor Carlos Ponti Jr. on the San Bernardino Symphony website, 

The website also notes that one of the selections the San Bernardino Symphony will perform that night is from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” Other selections are from composers Samuel Barber and Aaron Copeland.

Ticket prices range from $20 to $55, with discounts available to students and military. They can be ordered on the symphony’s website, or by calling (909) 381-5388.

Saturday, May 15, a countdown week of celebration begins with a citrus-themed gala at the National Orange Show. This dinner-dance will feature live entertainment and visual art focusing on the history of San Bernardino.

 Sunday, May 16 is a Bicentennial Mayor’s Run and a Festival of Faiths.

The Mayor’s Run is an annual event with a Bicentennial twist for 2010. This year’s 5K and 10K races start at Arrowhead Credit Union Park, home of the Inland Empire 66’ers minor league baseball team and finish at home plate.

Young people can take part in the Mayor’s Mile, which is one, two or three loops around the Arrowhead stadium. All youth who finish receive a certificate of recognition, regardless of how well they place.

The Festival of Faiths takes place at the Western Regional Little League Championship stadium. It will include an ecumenical service, open to all faiths, as well as food from all of the ethnic groups taking part. There is no charge to participate.

“It will bring the many faith communities together, particularly Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu, as well as others, in a celebration of the diversity of faith in San Bernardino over the last 200 years,” Rabbi Cohn said. “There will be recognition of all the various faiths here, as well as worship through dance.”

Thursday, May 20 is the rededication of a centennial monument erected in 1910 and the dedication of a new bicentennial monument at the very site where Father Dumetz first established his local mission. This was in what is now known as the “Urbita” area, near Inland Center Mall.

Saturday, May 22 is a Bicentennial Parade on E Street focusing on the city’s history from its start in 1810 to the future, in accordance with the entire celebration’s theme “A Rich History. A Bright Future.” This theme is divided into three parts for the parade.

Part 1 focuses on “A Rich History.” Entries within this theme include a float from San Manuel Band of Indians with members in ceremonial dress performing bird songs; a float from Aquinas High School depicting the first Mass Father Dumetz performed in San Bernardino after traveling here on May 20, 1810 and members of the Mormon Church parading in period costumes with hand carts like they used when they first came to the area in the 1850s.

Part 2 focuses on the present and will include the Westside Steppers, drill teams, mariachi groups, churches and more. Part 3 depicts participants’ hopes for the future. Entries will be from CSUSB, San Bernardino Valley College, Gallo Technology and others.

Transcending the past, present and future, 20 youth from various ethnic backgrounds within San Bernardino will carry a large United States flag, owned by the Native Sons of the Golden West. Each youth will wear a costume depicting the land of his or her ancestors.

The Bicentennial Celebration Committee also has invited every high school in San Bernardino to send its marching band.

“It will be a phenomenal parade, the likes of which San Bernardino has never seen before,” Brinker said.

June 17-19 is a youth celebration and talent show called “San Bernardino’s Got Talent.” It’s focusing on the talent of local residents, primarily those of high school and college age.

For the finale, the Bicentennial Celebration will conclude with a fireworks show and extravaganza on July 4, 2010 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park.  This evening event will include food and entertainment along with a fireworks show.

The events inside the park will be free, however there will be a $5 per vehicle charge to park at Arrowhead.

To register to be a part of any of these great days, or for more information, go to or call Erin Brinker at (951) 323-9337.

Rabbi Cohn is the chairman of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee, and Erin Brinker is the chair of its Public Relations & Marketing and Independence Day Extravaganza committees. Other Bicentennial Celebration Committee members are Art Guerrero (chair of Neighborhood Beautification committee) Jim Smith (chair of the Community Engagement committee), Cheryl Brown (chair of the Youth Council, Intergovernmental and Arts committees), Beverly Bird (chair of the Legend of the Arrowhead committee), Steven Shaw (chair of the History committee), David Smith (chair of the Finance committee), Jane Sneddon (chair of the Parade committee) and Martha Pinkney (chair of the Gala committee.)

These members were appointed by the mayor and members of the San Bernardino Common Council. Additional community volunteers who have taken on leadership of other committees are: Trudy Freidel (Festival of Faiths), Dr. William Coleman (Leadership Cabinet), Peggi Hazlett (Mayor’s Run), Dr. Charles “Skip” Herbert (Coloring Books for Schools) and The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire (Design).