As 2014 is the Blaisdell Center’s 50th year of operation, a few of us got on this subject….is there any particular day one could regard as its “birthday”? September 12th came out as the best contender–it was on that day in 1964 that the entire complex was formally dedicated. Surely Blaisdell Center’s formal dedication is the date most fitting to be called its “birthday”?
The first public event at the NBC was on March 7, 1964–the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Pageant held in the Arena. The first event at the Exhibition Hall was the Sportsman Show that May 1st.
But the Concert Hall was still under construction then, so the entire complex was still not functional. The first event at the Concert Hall occurred on Aug 7th, a Kabuki troupe from Japan. They began with a rarely seen traditional Japanese cleansing ceremony for the new hall.
A dedication celebration for the entire complex was slated for that September. Kicking off on 9/12, there were 9 days of events planned at each venue–concerts by mainland and local stars, symphony, ballet, live theater, ethnic performances, art and fashion shows, concerts by the Royal Hawaiian Band, and much more.
The evening of the 12th saw the formal dedication of Blaisdell Center as a memorial to Hawaii’s war heroes, and the blessing of a memorial plaque on the grounds outside the Arena. After a show of firecrackers, onlookers went into the Arena to enjoy the Hollywood Party of the Stars- a star studded show highlighted by mainland entertainers.
Happy Birthday Blaisdell Center!