There Were More People In The Downtown Bars Than On The Pier For City’s 100th Celebration
It had the promise of a party.
Certainly a celebration.
Manhattan Beach was singing “Happy Birthday” to itself on the evening of the city’s official 100th birthday. Dec. 7, 2012.
Local bar owner and crooner Lou Giovannetti was leading the singing, which took place on the Pier just past dusk. The holiday lights of the pier were in the background and a “100” was added to lights on the roundhouse.
You would have expected this event to be a happening. A major event. Yet the only way I knew about it was because someone forwarded me an e-mail from the city that included it in several upcoming Manhattan Beach holiday events. And I live in Manhattan Beach!
When I mentioned it to others they all game me the same, puzzled reaction: “what is it they are doing? I don’t understand.”
Still, I expected the place to be buzzing. The bars to be packed. Hundreds of people milling around the Pier. Instead, things on this Friday night were as quiet as if it were a Monday. There were more people in Shellback celebrating a regular patron’s birthday than there were gathered on the Pier.
When I mentioned to the Shellback bartender that I was downtown to sing Happy Birthday he said, “you mean to him,” and pointed to the patron. He didn’t even know about it (bar owner Bob Beverly did, however).
I did have a couple friends join me and we joined a few others to sing “Happy Birthday.” (We actually sang it twice.) There were about a dozen of us. There were so few people you would have thought a USC basketball game was taking place.
And that’s a shame.
There should have been hundreds, if not a thousand or so, people singing Happy Birthday to their city.
The bars should have given a dollar off a drink for anyone who participated, restaurants discounted appetizers.
The city – or Centennial committee – should have had made a poster of the event and then put it all over town. (Sadly, there has been considerable friction all year between the city and Centennial committee.)
Well anyway, Happy 100th Manhattan Beach. I – and tens of thousands of others – will be back on Sunday for the real celebration, the annual Holiday Fireworks.