Bold plans for the centennial celebration of Balboa Park were unveiled to great fanfare Tuesday by Mayor Bob Filner and event producers.
The year-long extravaganza is scheduled to kick off on New Year's Eve 2014 and attract millions of visitors throughout 2015.
It's generally acknowledged that the centennial will take tens of millions of dollars, thousands of volunteers and feats of logistical magic to pull off.
But the mayor and event organizers are gung-ho about its prospects for success, both artistically and financially.
"It's going to be a party in 2015, but it's going to be more than a party," Filner told a gathering of more than 100 park tenants, potential corporate partners, sponsors and civic leaders in a briefing at the Old Globe Theatre. "It will leave out-of-towners disappointed that they live anywhere else."
"We're going to unify our region with this event. We're going to inspire our young people, show off what makes San Diego such a great city and provide unique experiences that you're not going to find anywhere else," Filner added.
The original event that's being commemorated is the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which really put San Diego on the world map back when this was a city of 40,000. Four million visitors from all over came to San Diego.
Promoters say the 2015 centennial will build on dozens of civic and cultural partnerships, sponsors and donors.
It will feature so-called "spectaculars," such as light and water shows and major concerts. One is planned with a binational theme at the border-area Friendship Park and Tijuana's Bullring by the Sea.
There will be a parade of arts, music, dance, drama and recreation along with connections to creative local businesses, industries and locally based celebrations.
Guests at the unveiling said the park of today is an even greater venue -- and that the centennial should easily surpass the 1915 Expo in visitor appeal.
"It's very inclusive, that's what I love: They haven't just said people in Balboa Park, they've said citywide, there's an opportunity for anyone anywhere in San Diego to submit an idea," said Ashley Gardner, director of the Women’s Museum of California in Liberty Station.
"We have city leaders who are all over it, who are committed to doing it. There's no doubt in my mind that we can't just take it to the very next level," Gardner said.
With events of this scale, there can be a lot of devils in the details: Funding, scheduling, staging, transportation, parking -- and weather, which may be the least of concerns.
The promoters, Adam Burke and Phil Green of Autonomy, put on Mexico's Independence Bicentennial in 2010, so it’s conceded that they have the requisite world-class experience.