The Port of San Diego will host a grand opening celebration for the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I on Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The free family event will take place on San Diego’s new and improved “front porch” at the foot of West Broadway and Harbor Drive.

The festivities will include roving musical entertainment, music ensembles, street performers and exhibitors as people explore the improvements to San Diego’s newest public meeting space. Food will be available for purchase from local specialty food trucks. For younger guests, a kids’ zone will be available with an arts and crafts station. For adult guests, San Diego craft beer will be for sale aboard a floating beer garden featuring live music on the California Spirit vessel. There will be a zip line on the pier and Flagship Cruises will be offering complimentary rides on the Patriot Jet Boat. There will also be opportunities to win passes to local attractions. The theme of the event is “San Diego’s Passport to the Waterfront.”

A formal ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. The ceremony will feature Naruwan Taiko drummers and the Port of San Diego’s Harbor Police Department Honor Guard. Speakers confirmed who represent the partnership and commitment of this project include Port Chairman Bob Nelson, Port Commissioner Marshall Merrifield, Acting Port President/CEO John Bolduc, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria and Civic San Diego Chair Cynthia Morgan.

The event commemorates a historic milestone for San Diego’s most prominent waterfront site. The North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I is a comprehensive project to enhance the waterfront and create new public open space that welcomes residents and tourists. This $31.1 million joint project of the Port of San Diego, the City of San Diego and Civic San Diego beautifies the waterfront from Navy Pier to B Street Pier. The project’s contractor, USS Cal Builders, started construction in January 2012.

A 105-foot-wide public esplanade provides an inviting place to walk. There’s a new information center, and a new café building where a restaurant is expected to open next year. New streetlights have been installed along with the planting of jacaranda trees.

Art by the Pae White is incorporated into the design for the new pavilions, café building and entertainment center. The new restroom building is also a Pae White art piece. The project includes significant improvements to roadways, utilities and storm water systems. One example of these improvements is a water quality band. It is a natural water filtration system, created by layered mulch, soil and gravel. Water runoff from the street and sidewalks enters the band and trickles down through the layers, allowing only clean water to go into San Diego Bay.

This year has been highly significant for San Diego’s waterfront. Not only does the North Embarcadero have a new look, but the County of San Diego’s waterfront park opened May 10, 2014. Construction is underway at Lane Field with a hotel and a new public park, adding to the amenities to in the area.