LOS ANGELES — As Union Station turns 80 years old, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to celebrate the last of the great train stations in the United States May 3 and 4.
Lots of activities are planned, including cultural displays, concerts, guided tours, arts and crafts, model train exhibits, train memorabilia, live music and fun activities for the whole family.
The two-day community celebration begins with an opening ceremony at 12:30 p.m. May 3 in the station’s Breezeway area. Following the opening ceremony, the California Feetwarmers will perform jazz and the New Recessionaires will play hits from the 1920s to the 1950s, inviting the public to dance and enjoy the music.
The public also will have the opportunity to play the piano located in the Passenger Concourse.
Adding to the festivities, each restaurant inside the station, such as Cafe Crepe, and Imperial Western Beer Company, will serve a specialty menu both days.
On May 4, the fun begins at 11 a.m. in the North Patio with live performances, arts and crafts, a live concert stage and a kid’s zone with Griffith Park Travel Town featuring toys trains and tracks.
On the South Patio, the public can visit Giggle Factory from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. where kid centric entertainment will offer balloon twist artists and flash tattoo artists and arts and crafts.
A demonstration of silkscreen printing will be conducted by Self Help Graphics & Art. Funk, mariachi, Afro/Latin and soul music will fill the air from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
In the Waiting Room, Del Oro Pacific Model Train will exhibit some of the oldest and largest model trains in the United States. Visitors can also enjoy a marketplace of community exhibitors, artisans, food trucks and live entertainment throughout the day.
The Ticket Concourse will begin its activities at 3:30 p.m. with live entertainment until 10 p.m. The public can listen to jazz/swing, American jazz, Ska and an eclectic mix of cumbia, jazz and funk. Art docents will lead tours highlighting the architecture features of Union Station.
The largest train terminal in the western United States cost $11 million to build and opened eight decades ago, May 3, 1939 with a lavish star-studded three-day celebration. The station was designed by the father and son architect team of John and Donald Parkinson with an innovative blend of Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival and Art Deco architecture now commonly referred to as Mission Modern.
The station was commissioned in 1933 as a joint venture between the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads and was intended to consolidate the three local railroad terminals.
In 1972, Union Station was designated as a Los Angeles Historic–Cultural Monument and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The 80th anniversary will allow Angelenos to discover the beauty and history of this downtown landmark.
For more information on all the festivities, visit www.unionstationla.com.