For one shining day (and part of the night) on Oct. 15, Chula Vista residents rocked out en masse in what was both literally and figuratively the party of the century: the city of Chula Vista’s official centennial celebration at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The sprawling OTC grounds swelled throughout the warm, sunny — and sometimes breezy — day with an estimated 25,000 “partygoers.” And there was something for everyone, regardless of age.
Non-stop screams from riders on the tilt-a-whirl cascaded throughout the venue from the event’s noon opening until nearly 10 p.m. The amusement zone was a popular destination for families with young children, which made up a sizable percentage of the guest list.
City officials were obviously pleased by the large turnout.
“This has to be the largest number of people from all over Chula Vista, from all over the county, to be at the training center at one time, and for many of them, it was their first time being here,” Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said. “There was something for everybody.”
Two stages provided non-stop live entertainment, a beer garden quenched the thirst of those 21 and older, the Twist of Lemon tasting area offered attendees a chance to sample some of the city’s finer eating establishments, and vendors showed their wares along the OTC’s winding visitors path.
A classic car show and a colorful array of local artists brightened up the day and left a smile on most faces. As did a helicopter fly-over and skydiving exhibition courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
And in front of the main stage, as music fans were serenaded by such bands as Pink Army, Big Time Operator, the Earthmovers, Sirens Crush, Barela and Rockola, there was impromptu dancing on the lush green grass that normally serves as a soccer pitch for athletes training on site.
South County’s own P.O.D. closed out the festivities with a 45-minute concert following a fireworks extravaganza.
It was a magical moment that, well, only comes once a century.
OTC resident athletes, used to practicing in their normally quiet surroundings, admitted it was bit “scary” at first to be overwhelmed by the large crowd.
“Being able to live and train here in Chula Vista is a wonderful experience,” said Paralympian Blake Leeper. “It’s a blessing.”
That sentiment was undoubtedly shared by many.
P.O.D. traces its formation back two decades in the South Bay. The band's line-up consists of vocalist Sonny Sandoval, drummer Wuv Bernardo, guitarist Marcos Curiel, and bassist Traa Daniels.
The band has released seven studio albums and has sold more than 10 million records worldwide. The band has also received three Grammy Award nominations, contributed to numerous motion picture soundtracks and toured internationally.
The band’s third studio album, “The Fundamental Elements of Southtown,” was certified platinum in 2000. The band’s next album, “Satellite,” contained the hit singles "Alive" and "Youth of the Nation" to enable it to go triple platinum.
The band’s appearance at the Chula Vista event came after its most recent “Rock Allegiance” tour.
The Olympic Path was temporarily renamed Centennial Milestone Path and featured banners taking a look back at the past 100 years of city history.
The classic car show featured 50 vintage vehicles .
Chula Vista OTC resident athletes Arielle Martin (BMX), Jamie Nieto (tack and field), Blake Leeper (track and field) and Lex Gillette (track and field), along with track and field coach and Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner entertained the crowd with inspiring stories during entertainment breaks throughout the day on the main stage.