Thursday, October 28, 2021

Arizona City celebrates 50th anniversary of London Bridge

Lake Havasu City is playing up its roots with a month of celebration marking the 50th anniversary of London Bridge’s dedication following its piecemeal reconstruction in a western Arizona resort town along the Colorado River.

Scheduled October events include a parade, powerboat racing, theater and music performances, a costume contest and sporting events.

Lake Havasu City founder Robert McCulloch bought the stone bridge in 1968 for about $2 million and was transported by ship and truck from London, across the Atlantic Ocean, and through the Panama Canal and Los Angeles. That process and reconstruction took three years, leading to the October 1971 surrender.

The City of London decided to replace the bridge as it was sinking and unfit to cope with the increased automobile traffic.

In the city of Havasu, with a population of about 57,000, the bridge spanning a channel between the shoreline and an island in the river has become a major tourist attraction.

“New York has the Empire State Building, St. Louis is the Gateway Arch, and LA is its Hollywood sign. There is only one London Bridge in the world outside of England, and we have it here thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers 50 years ago, “Said Terrence Concannon, President and CEO of Go Lake Havasu, the city’s convention and visitors. Bureau.

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After Friday’s ribbon-cutting, the 50th anniversary celebration began with a candlelight feast and ball on Saturday evening, followed by a garden brunch and tea on Sunday morning, reports the Today News Herald. There was a dress competition.

The idea for the feast came from the 1971 dedication of London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, which also featured a large tent decorated for a formal dedication dinner, said Melanie Preston, a Lake Havasu City non-profit that organizes the London Bridge Renaissance Fair annually. organizes.

The dedication dinner 50 years ago was inspired by the bridge’s original dedication to the city in 1831 that gave the bridge its name. “It’s going to be banquet style with rows of tables, candles, flowers, banners, and all of them,” Preston said.

Hannah Rangel, the history director of the Lake Havasu Museum, said the feast will be an interactive experience for guests and will include modeling of some of the costumes that made their debut in the original costume contest in the ’70s and have since been donated to the museum’s collection. has been given.

“Some of the costumes she made in previous costume competitions are gorgeous,” Rangel said. “So we’ll talk about them and give some history. We’re putting a lot of emphasis on making sure there’s a true representation of history for the city.”

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