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Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 with party

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:20 PM EDT, Fri May 25, 2012
A view of Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge, which is celebrating 75 years.
A view of Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge, which is celebrating 75 years.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opened in May 1937
  • The suspension bridge took just over four years to build
  • Daylong festival celebrating the bridge is set for Sunday

(CNN) -- Seventy-five years later, the innovation and courage of those who designed and built the Golden Gate Bridge shine as brightly as the span's orange towers.

The suspension bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County opened to vehicles on May 28, 1937, a little more than four years after construction began.

A daylong celebration Sunday will include music, vintage cars, a watercraft parade and technology demonstrations. The events will be capped by a spectacular fireworks display showcasing the bridge and surrounding parkland.

A dedication Friday of new visitor facilities and services paid tribute to the audacity that created the bridge and the 11 men who died during its construction.

"Built in the midst of the Great Depression, this bridge is a reminder, no matter what the daunting challenge and overwhelming obstacles, America always invests in big and bold endeavors." said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

The bridge is named for the Golden Gate Strait, a symbol of hope for immigrants and safety for troops returning from war, Pelosi said.

Sunday's activities will be centered at Crissy Field and Marina Green, along the northern waterfront of San Francisco.

The bridge was made for superlatives and wow-inducing numbers, as provided by the Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District:

-- Each tower has approximately 600,000 rivets.

-- The 4,200-foot suspension span was the longest in the world until New York's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964.

-- Painting is an ongoing task, because it protects the bridge from high salt content in the air, which corrodes steel components.

-- The bridge has been closed three times because of weather.

What's the chance of signature Golden Gate fog during Sunday's festival?

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson said there will be low clouds in the morning, partly cloudy skies in the afternoon and a mostly clear outlook for the evening.

CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this report.

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