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Celebrate the Santa Cruz Wharf’s Centennial through 2014
Sanctuary Celebration honors the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Posted Date: 4/9/2014 9:00 AM

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- The City of Santa Cruz invites the community to participate in a year-long celebration of the Santa Cruz Wharf’s 100th Anniversary throughout 2014.  The next event lined up includes the Sanctuary Celebration honoring the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on May 17.  Past events included an encore presentation of Jazz on the Wharf and a presentation on the history and importance of wharves  by Frank Perry of the Museum of Natural History.

For the past century, the Santa Cruz Wharf has been an iconic structure in our community, serving as a gateway not only to the Monterey Bay, but also as a primary destination for millions of visitors to Santa Cruz County. With a rich and fabled fishing and shipping legacy, the wharf continues to serve as an economic engine in the community, hosting a wide array of fine restaurants, fish houses, gift shops and recreational outlets for both visitors and locals alike. Its views of the bay and the surrounding coastal mountain ranges are unsurpassed.

The Santa Cruz Wharf is actually the sixth pier on the Santa Cruz waterfront. In the aftermath of the Gold Rush and California’s ascension to statehood, these earlier wharves served critical roles in the export of a variety of regional resources and products: potatoes, hides, tallow, lime, gun powder, redwood and, later, fish. The current wharf was built a century ago primarily to accommodate large steamships, hence its extension a half-mile from shore. With the addition of davits—small hand-cranes used to lift fishing boats out of stormy seas—the wharf served as home to the Santa Cruz Italian fishing community for nearly 50 years. At 2,745 feet, it remains the longest wharf in the Pacific Ocean.

“The wharf is an important economic generator for the city as well as an historic, cultural and recreational asset,” said Santa Cruz Mayor Lynn Robinson. "Overlooking the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and a World Surfing Reserve, the wharf is truly our gateway to the bay."

The Wharf Centennial Celebration starts with the Seymour Marine Discovery Center’s free Eco-Tours of the Santa Cruz Wharf taking place every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 and 3:00 pm throughout 2014. The tours focus on the abundant wildlife near the wharf and are led by docents from the Seymour Center. 

The popular Woodies on the Wharf returns on June 21, the Roughwater Swim on August 2 and the Aloha Races and Polynesian Festival on August 24. Wharf and waterfront tours by award-winning author and historian Geoffrey Dunn will take place September 13, 20 and 27, followed by the Centennial Celebration and proposed Fireworks Spectacular Saturday, October 4. Halloween on the Wharf is October 31.

The Santa Cruz Wharf 100th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremonies will be on Friday, December 5, 2014, 100 years to-the-day since the wharf's grand opening in 1914.

Throughout 2014 the Wharf Master Plan and Engineering Report will continue to take shape through a series of public workshops. The plan will define a comprehensive vision for the design of buildings and public spaces, create linkages with nearby educational and recreation activities such as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center and identify repairs and upgrades to the wharf to see it through its next anniversary. Visit the Wharf Master Plan and Engineering Report Resource page at for meeting dates and preliminary concepts.

For more information and updates on the 100th Anniversary of the Santa Cruz Wharf, visit or call 831-420-5277.