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Crowds Flock To Celebrate Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th Anniversary

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Golden Gate Bridge

(Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Sunny skies and chilly winds greeted the crowds along San Francisco’s waterfront Sunday during the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration.

PHOTOS: Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary

Despite overcrowded buses and traffic snarls, the diverse visitors attending the Golden Gate Festival were in good spirits Sunday afternoon.

Extending along the waterfront from the Presidio, to Fort Point and Crissy Field to the Marina, the 12-hour festival featured a range of family activities and events including live music. It will finish with a fireworks display around 9:30 p.m. that organizers promised would be “spectacular.”

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District officials have been urging visitors to avoid driving and take public transit, and both the district and Muni have provided additional service for the day.

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Not everyone got the message though. Jenny Simmons, of Napa, and her mother Cindy Simmons, of Vacaville, said they had driven and parked in the Presidio. The two were carrying chairs and bags of food and drinks toward Crissy Field around 5:30 to meet other family members.

“It took us an hour to find a parking space,” Jenny Simmons said.

As of 7 p.m., district officials said there was still plenty of room at Crissy Field, but that Marina Green was packed with people and dogs. Visitors were settling down on blankets in preparation for the fireworks and many are setting up cameras on tripods.

Business was also brisk for vendors. Robert Taylor, 40, of Oakland, said he had sold around two dozen t-shirts at $10 each in about an hour at Crissy Field. Taylor also planned to sell glowsticks as the sun went down.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“Everybody gets into that fireworks spirit,” Taylor said. “We don’t only sell to kids, we sell to adults too.”

Bridge district officials were urging motorists to avoid driving in San Francisco at all on Sunday, and to walk, bike or take public transit instead.

Check Current KCBS Traffic Conditions

The Golden Gate Brdige sidewalks are closed and will remain closed until after the fireworks, around 10:15 p.m. The bridge itself will close from 9 to 10 p.m. and reopen as soon as safely possible, district officials said.

The Presidio is also closed to motorists, but will reopen around midnight. The Vista Point parking lots at the north end of the bridge was closed at 5 p.m. and will remain closed until the fireworks end.

Musical performances were scheduled to continue on three stages throughout the fireworks, including Mickey Hart on the Crissy Field stage immediately after the fireworks end.

Sunday culminates three days of celebrations that began Friday with the ribbon cutting on a new visitors center at the Bridge’s south end and a renovated historic Roundhouse.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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