Morro Bay plans to celebrate its 50th year as a city

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong year for Morro Bay's incorporation in a quotation. The city was formed in 1964.

On New Year’s Day, Morro Bay begins celebrating its “Landmark & Legacy.” Community groups and leadership have met for months to plan events and civic-minded projects throughout 2014 in recognition of Morro Bay’s 50 years as an incorporated city.

"While chairing a TBID (Tourism Business Improvement District) meeting in City Council chambers, I noticed the city seal,” said Joan Solu, spokeswoman for the yearlong project. “I mentioned ... that Morro Bay would celebrate its 50th year in 2014. ... Everyone, including Councilwoman Nancy Johnson, agreed we should do something. People said they’d like to help, and most of them showed up to a first planning meeting, so we moved forward.”

The inaugural event is a hike at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 1  beginning at Morro Rock; it coincides with the California State Parks 150th anniversary. State Parks docents will lead an easy seaside walk along a section of the California Coastal Trail. It’s free, and families are encouraged to participate during one of the lowest tides of the year.

The next scheduled event is a dinner Jan. 11. In collaboration with the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, the evening will include a photographic journey through Morro Bay’s 50 years and a recognition of individuals or families nominated randomly from the community who have played a significant role in the history of Morro Bay throughout the past five decades.

The Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce will also announce the 2013 Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year and Living Treasure awards. The Great American Fish Co. and Off the Hook will cater the event at Morro Bay’s Community Center. Tickets are $50 and available at the chamber office at 695 Harbor St. beginning Jan. 2.

More activities still in the developmental stages include a themed Morro Bay parade, the burial of a time capsule, a community beach party and the planting of 50 cypress trees, Morro Bay’s official tree. The informal planning group intends to support the Central Coast Women for Fisheries legacy project, a statue titled “For Those Who Wait” to be installed at the harbor entrance. To view the memorial statue, go to www.womenforfish.org.

“We are grateful to the City Council for investing $15,000 to fund the year’s programs. We want to involve everyone as we highlight those events that have long been established in Morro Bay as well as create a few more to celebrate our 50th year,” Solu said. “We want everyone to know Morro Bay has been an incorporated city since July 1964.”

A website, morrobay50th.com, has been created to provide updates and details of future meetings and events throughout 2014.