SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Restaurants along San Francisco’s eastern waterfront were all booked up in advance of Tuesday night’s unveiling of a new light sculpture on the western span of the Bay Bridge.
“The Bay Lights,” an installation of about 25,000 LED lights by artist Leo Villareal, will be turned on at about 9 p.m. The event has caused a frenzy of activity at restaurants that might otherwise be calm on a mid-week night.
“We have had to turn down hundreds of people,” said Duane Stinson, general manager at Sinbad’s Seafood Restaurant directly adjacent to the Ferry Building on The Embarcadero.
“There’s been tons of people asking about it,” Stinson said, saying the light sculpture will be “a great plus for the city and the whole waterfront.”
Waterbar, a restaurant near the foot of Folsom Street where “The Bay Lights” organizers announced their plans for the bridge last fall, was closing at 3 p.m. Tuesday for a private event held by the installation organizers.
However, the restaurant is still seeing high demand for the near future from people wanting to get a view of the lights, general manager Keith Rada said.
“There’s definitely demand inquiries for the next couple of weeks, a lot of people asking for window tables and view tables,” Rada said. “It’s a real positive for us.”
The main event for the installation unveiling was an invitation-only affair at the Hotel Vitale near Pier 14, where Villareal will turn on the lights via computer, spokeswoman Barbara Zamost said.
Mayor Ed Lee and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom were among the dignitaries expected to attend the event, Zamost said.
Organizers were hoping that the rain that was in the forecast for San Francisco Tuesday night stays away until after the light sculpture is unveiled.
KPIX 5 meteorologist Lawrence Karnow said storm clouds will slowly move into the Bay Area with a chance of rain late Tuesday.
The lights, which will remain on the Bay Bridge for two years, will not be visible to drivers on the bridge.
They were mounted over the past several months on the vertical cables of the western span and will be on for about seven hours each night, organizers said.
The $8 million project is being privately funded but is still about $2 million short of that amount, Zamost said.
People can donate and also watch a webcast of Tuesday night’s lighting ceremony on the project’s website at www.thebaylights.org.
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