The outdoor Spreckels Organ in San Diego's Balboa Park will turn 100 on New Year's Eve and plans to celebrate with a free concert and fireworks on Wednesday evening.
The festivities kick off the centennial of the city's Panama-California International Exposition that began on Jan. 1, 1915. The organ opened to the public the day before as a gift from sugar magnate John Spreckels.
Organizers recommend arriving at the organ pavilion at 5:30 p.m. for festivities leading up to the 7:30 show.
Highlights include a reenactment of Spreckels' gift of the organ, premiere of new compositions, a bagpipe procession and a 150-voice choir led by San Diego Master Chorale music director John Russell.
The organ marks its centennial on another big note too.
It has embarked on a fundraising campaign to increase the number of pipes from 4,518 to 5,000 so it can claim the title of the world's largest outdoor pipe organ. That title is held by a 4,948-pipe outdoor organ at Kufstein Fortress in Austria.
Seating at the pavilion accommodates about 2,500; blankets and warm clothing are recommended. If you can't make it Wednesday evening, concerts are given at 2 p.m. Sundays and on Monday evenings in summer.
Info: Spreckels Organ Society
Sugar magnates John and Adolph Spreckels gifted the pipe organ to the city as part of its maganificent Panama-California International Exposition that began on Jan. 1, 1915.