Faulconer Joins with Marines to Celebrate Balboa Park Centennial with a Nod to the Past

Mayor, Brigadier General Exchange Plants, Recreate Historic Photo to Mark 100th Anniversary of 1915 Expo

Saturday, May 9, 2015 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego, CA – With the Balboa Park Centennial celebration in full swing, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Brig. Gen. James W. Bierman and other dignitaries kicked off the “Garden Party of the Century” event in Balboa Park this morning with a ceremonial plant exchange and the recreation of a historic photo with Marines.

“The Garden Party of the Century” is a free daylong public experience and the spring signature event for the City’s Balboa Park Centennial celebration honoring the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which drew millions of spectators to Balboa Park and put San Diego on the world map.

The Garden Party will feature a Centennial-inspired flower show, Master Gardener demonstrations, garden tours, special horticulture discussions and a wide variety of music, art and activities for the whole family. The event is also an opportunity for the City and its staff to share information about drought resistant sustainable landscapes and how homeowners can reduce water use by creating water-wise gardens.

With a nod to the past, Mayor Faulconer and Brig. Gen. Bierman held a ceremonial plant exchange followed by the recreation of a historic 1915 photo of more than 250 Marines marching across Cabrillo Bridge.

According to urban legend, Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, who commanded the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in the late 1920s, granted Marines time off if they provided plants to furnish his gardens. Unbeknownst to Butler, his Marines were digging up plants from Balboa Park to get their days off. When Butler ran into San Diego’s mayor at an event, the mayor told Butler the city was very pleased to have the Marines as new neighbors, however, could he please stop the Marines from removing plants from Balboa Park.

Mayor Faulconer received a Tecate Cypress tree from Brig. Gen. Bierman as full recompense for the over-zealous dedication of Marines nearly a century ago. In exchange, Faulconer presented an orchid to Bierman on behalf of all San Diegans for the Marine Corps’ tireless service to the City of San Diego and the country.

The day began at 9:30 a.m. with a kids’ floral wagon parade from the Spanish Village to the Plaza de Panama. Click here for more information on the day’s events.

CONTACT: Craig Gustafson (619) 453-9880 or [email protected]