South Park Bridge groundbreaking tomorrow: BIG party

Just before the old South Park Bridge closed permanently last June 30th, we recorded that video of the crowd on the bridge chanting “We want a bridge/we need a bridge” – at that time, the replacement plan was by no means finalized. Now it is, and tomorrow’s the day that the start of work will be celebrated. We have already told you about the huge piñata (here’s our April 24th report) and the official groundbreaking tomorrow as bridge construction gets going. But the party (starting at 1:30 pm) has become REALLY big – and while our mailbox overflows with “official” announcements of what’s happening where and when (plus there’s tons of info here), the liveliest invite we’ve seen came from longtime South Park community advocate Bill Pease, via the SP community e-mail list. He granted our request to republish it here:

In case anyone missed the memo…

South Park is getting a NEW BRIDGE! The construction trailers are assembled on the old County Line lot, and the official ground-breaking is going to happen this Thursday, May 5th at 1:30 pm at the end of the red brick section of 14th Ave S.

Now: Ground-breaking ceremonies are normally dry, stuffy events… and there will certainly be some of that. But this is South Park, and we march to beat of a different drum! Before the pictures of politicians posing earnestly with golden shovels, there will be a performance of the Danza de los Diabolos. Do you think Microsoft had Devil Dancers perform at the ground breaking for their new bridge? No. They did not!

Next comes the speech-i-fyin’. Lots of people have been working long and hard to make sure we got the money to rebuild our link to Seattle so I will gladly listen and clap for everyone who wants to speak. Next comes a quick photo-op with the golden shovels (if you’ve never used a golden shovel, don’t feel bad… they are very heavy, and they bend easily.) But then, THEN… they wheel out the BIG photo-op… A 26′ long piñata in the shape of the new bridge. Suspended by a crane! Did the bridge movers on I-405 have a giant piñata? Not even close!

OK. By 2:30 the whole she-bang is normally winding down, but we live in South Park, so we want to kick it up a notch. Our elected officials have committed to dining at the local South Park establishments, and will be having a Meet & Eat for anyone that wants to join them. Don’t be shy. They get paid for this, and it is your chance to speak one on one with the very people who can affect the positive changes we are asking for. Be polite, be direct, be funny, but for gosh sakes, be there!

Got kids? Bring them to the crafts tent between 3:00 and 5:00 and they will create their own works of art that they will want to keep forever, seriously. They will receive a certificate that proves that they were at the ground-breaking event, complete with their own photo… and they get to make it their own with custom decorations.

By 3:30 the atmosphere will begin to change. Mariachi Ayutla will arrive and It won’t just be a celebration anymore, it becomes a Fiesta! The 5th of May is not an arbitrary date, it is the Cinco de Mayo. The anniversary of the day that a small group of Mexican soldiers –fighting for the independence of their fledgling country– defeated a much larger and better equipped French army at the Battle of Pueblo. While this skirmish was not the final battle for their independence, it showed that a scrappy, dedicated force could prevail over seemingly insurmountable odds. Just as a scrappy, dedicated community did to get the funding for our new bridge. This is our victory, all of us, and we deserve to celebrate!

At 4:30 we really start to feel the happy feet-a-tappin’ and it’s no wonder, Banda Gozona is giving us a taste of Oaxacan dances, reels and marches. Bailar!

If you can only make it to one event on Thursday, then show up at 5:00 for the second showing of the giant piñata. Did I mention that it was on a crane? Well, at 5:00 it makes it’s second appearance, only this is no photo-op. This is the real-deal where a rumored 100 lbs. of candy will rain down on the suspecting crowd below. Keep all hands and feet away from the mouths of children! But wait! There’s more! For those of us in the crowd that envy the exuberance of the children… there will be an adult piñata drop that will contain gift certificates from local businesses, T-shirts, prizes, seed packets and Dog only knows… there is some really fun stuff to be had.

6:30. The kids are in a sugar coma, the politico types are home writing letters to their local op-ed columns, and the seedy underbelly of South Park emerges. That’s right… Artists! They confront the two evils that strike fear in the psyche of every artist: A deadline, and a live audience! Five brave souls will pit their skills against each other and the clock to create works of art that must be completed within 1 Hour. While they are working, they will be in full view of the audience, and the audience gets to bid silently on the works while they are in process. All proceeds from the silent auction will go to support Arts & Cultural experiences for the teens at the South Park Community Center. All bids must be in by 7:30! *As a side note: All five artists will be starting with the same canvas… doors reclaimed from the historical “Witches Hat House” on 7th Ave S.

Time for another change in tone. Beginning at 8:00, the band Hamanah Don will beguile you with West African rhythms and a traditional 20 string harp. Their siren call will lead the crowd to the final event of the day.

All through the ages, there has always been one element that can evoke a response from even the most jaded individual. Fire. At 9:00 PM on Thursday, Rusty Oliver and Spinergy Arts will use fire as their medium to create a performance art piece that will quite literally burn itself into the memories of all that see it!

Come on out on Thursday, South Park is fine!

See you there.

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