This year, the City of Virginia Beach turns 50, which can be hard to believe considering the young city is the most populous city in the commonwealth. But, indeed, it was January 1, 1961 when the two-square mile resort city merged with Princess Anne County to form the City of Virginia Beach. Plans for fireworks, an art show, a parade and more were all scheduled for residents to celebrate this milestone. But now:
All the plans are cancelled, and they won’t be rescheduled. How did this celebration turn into a disaster?
It all started early in the week when workers removed a time capsule from behind the cornerstone at City Hall. The time capsule had been created in 1969 when City Hall opened and was designated to be opened during the city’s 50th anniversary. Workers carefully chiseled the box out from the behind the cornerstone, and the time capsule was scheduled to be opened by the mayor during a public ceremony on Saturday. Many people were eager to learn about what history city officials at the time decided to preserve for the future.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that Leo Ortiz, who works as the director of programs and entertainment for Virginia Beach Events Unlimited, was the first to pick up the time capsule. He thought it was heavier than he expected. He tipped it to the side a bit. Water started to stream out. And here’s is where Virginia Beach’s golden anniversary celebration began to fall to the wayside as well.
Now, instead of saving the privileges of opening the time capsule for the mayor, workers went ahead and cracked it open. Their eyes were met with mushy paper. Their noses were met with a rotten stench. The only salvageable pieces from the time capsule were pieces of slide film and a publication highlighting the city’ economic goals. The contents has been wrapped in plastic, duct tape and tin foil.
Wow, right? Nonetheless, city officials still decided that they would display the remains of the time capsule during the impending weekend celebration.
Meanwhile, a nor’easter storm positioned itself over the Hampton Roads area and it began to rain. And rain. And rain. And flood. By Friday, with more rain and wind in the forecast, the entire celebration was called off. No parades. No fireworks. No nothing.
City officials have planned to make a time capsule to be opened on the 100th anniversary of the city. All I have to say: better luck next time.