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(photo credit: AP [file])
Centennial Activities: April-December
As the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa marks its centennial birthday this April, a wide variety of special events are planned, including outdoor festivals, art shows, sporting events, historic exhibitions and a plethora of community projects. The fun kicks off at the beginning of April and will continue into the fall of 2009 with different themes each month. In addition to the activities, the municipality has begun 15 renovation projects throughout the city that will have dedication ceremonies throughout the year. Slated to be finished this summer are the new Gordon Swimming Pool and recreation area, the new Jaffa Port, and the Old Manshia Train Station. Later in the year the new Habima Theater will be unveiled as well as new wings in the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
April: Notable events
1-2: International Conference on Urban Innovation at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center will examine the future of the city in the next century, including panels on urban management, air pollution, transportation, ethics, environmentalism and more. The conference will be accompanied by an exhibit entitled "Future Tel Aviv-Jaffa in the Eyes of the World" presented by students of architecture from around the world.
2: 1,000 guests of honor from Israel and abroad are expected to attend the official opening ceremony of the Centennial events, which will be inspired by "Little Tel Aviv" of the beginning of the 20th century on Bialik Street.
3: Sarona Gardens: Sister City Tribute.
Sarona in the German Templar colony (above) will be decorated in honor of the 24 sister cities of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
3: Birthday Party in the Streets
The city is hosting a massive birthday party in the streets, neighborhoods and community centers. City restaurants will serve special dishes, musical groups will play in the boulevards and main squares, and numerous surprises are planned.
4: Opening Celebration in Rabin Square
This will include an outdoor concert featuring leading Israeli singers and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The entire square and surrounding buildings' facades will be used to project a light and multimedia show designed especially for the Centennial. Some of the city's greatest artists, musicians, dance and theater groups will participate in the show, which will conclude with fireworks.
17: The Centennial Photograph
In honor of Abraham Soskin's famous photograph (above) on the beach documenting the seashell lottery on April 11, 1909, the descendants of the founders will gather in Charles Clore Park to reenact the photograph. This time they will be joined by descendants of the city's builders and prominent figures and thousands of residents. This huge contemporary portrait of Tel Aviv will officially document the city 100 years after its foundation.
24: International Marathon
A 42-kilometer run, crossing the city's main thoroughfares, will draw thousands of professionals and amateurs from Israel and abroad.
28: Singing in the Square
Concerts, festivals and fireworks will take place in Rabin Square to celebrate Israel's 61st Independence Day and Tel Aviv-Jaffa's 100th anniversary.
May: Salute to the City Founders
Entire Month: Tel Aviv-Jaffa Embroidery, Art in the Community and Centennial Babies
A special embroidered work, created by 30 artists, will present a panoramic history of the city. Jaffa will be embellished with wall paintings, mosaics, and artistic benches as part of the "Art in the Community" project, which connects Jaffa schoolchildren through local artists. Thousands of babies born in 2008 were photographed as "Centennial Babies" and the exhibition of the images will be on display on the Centennial Administration's Web site (www.tlv100.co.il) starting in May.
8-9: Houses from Within
A special urban project will open unique homes to the public: design lofts, urban villas and architecturally valuable buildings will welcome curious spectators. The event will include nostalgic tours of historical buildings and the opening of activity centers throughout the city.
12: The Education Biennial
During the Lag Ba'omer holiday, the Cameri Theater will host the annual Education Conference, with the participation of leading education figures, academics and researchers. In honor of the centennial, an education biennial will be established in which tens of city education institutions will present the fruits of the 2008-2009 school year (dedicated to the historical, cultural and ecological legacy of the city)
27: Little Tel Aviv's White Night, 'White Route,' and erection of Dizengoff Statue
This all-night nostalgic festival throughout city streets will be initiated with the inauguration of a new bronze sculpture by David Zundelevich depicting Meir Dizengoff astride his horse. The statue will be erected in front of the mayor's historic home on 16 Rothschild Boulevard. The city will also dedicate the "White Route" - one of three topic-based walking paths to be unveiled during the Centennial Year (based on the UNESCO recognition of Tel Aviv as a world Heritage Center in 2003). The White Route will traverse architectural, historical and cultural points of interest.
June: The City and The Sea
10-20: International RS:X Class European Championship
One of the leading international windsurfing competitions will be held on the city's shores. The horizon will be brightened with dozens of sails as hundreds of windsurfers from Israel and abroad compete in the windsurfing championship, and the Tel Aviv Marina will be converted into a mini Olympic village.
10-20: Hebrew Book Week
Dozens of publishers, hundreds of authors and tens of thousands of books will grace Rabin Square during Hebrew Book Week. Meetings with authors, book signings and literary events will be held at the fair grounds and cafÃ©s around town. Leading writers will hold readings at a cafÃ© specially built at Rabin Square. Four books, which will be published in collaboration with the Centennial Administration, examine the city from various perspectives.
12: Pride Parade
Throughout the city the annual pride parade (started in 1998) has grown into a massive, colorful rally attended by thousands. In honor of the centennial, the parade will be the peak of the month-long series of events, concerts and artistic endeavors catering to the gay community.
17: Dedication of the "Blue Route"
The Blue Route, running from the ancient Jaffa Port to the modern Tel Aviv Port, is the second of three topic-based routes that will be inaugurated during the Centennial Year. The route will run through points of interest along the city's beautiful coastline.
17-18: Blue Mediterranean Festival in Jaffa Port
June's Centennial activities will reach a festive climax with a mega-festival in Jaffa, a tribute to the city from which Tel Aviv sprang. Celebrating the Mediterranean scents and flavors of the port city, the Blue Festival will feature film screenings, live music and great food. The festival will take place at several sites in Jaffa - the newly refurbished Old Port and the streets of Old Jaffa. New sections of the city's boardwalks will also open.
July: Creative City
16: La Scala to perform Verdi's Requiem in Ganei Yehoshua-Yarkon Park
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the prestigious La Scala Opera House, straight from Milan, in a free concert at Ganei Yehoshua Park. Touring Israel for the first time ever, La Scala arrives with hundreds of soloists, actors, dancers and instrumentalists to stage a grandiose show. The ensemble will perform Verdi's "Requiem" in the Park, as one of the cultural highlights of the Centennial Year. An extravagant performance of Verdi's "Aida" will be staged at the Opera House from July 14-21.
August: Childhood Revisited
Magic Fairy Tale Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center
The children's festival presents performances, dance shows and special events for young children. Bringing highbrow culture to kids' eye level, the festival welcomes children up to age 12 during the month of August.
20: Tel Aviv Childhood
This special day is dedicated to children in the Ganei Yehoshua Park. Invited to wear their pajamas for a giant pajama party, the event will highlight children's stories that took place in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. It will include a tribute to the city's writers, poets and artists as well as live shows and surprises.
September: Tribute to the City's Artists
9: Opening of the Art Biennale (until October 9)
A first ever international art Biennial will open throughout the city, aimed at showcasing cutting-edge contemporary works to both local and foreign audiences. Dozens of exhibitions, seminars and events will be staged at various private and public spaces around the city in continuation of the art Biennales of Istanbul and Athens.
15-17: Flower Carpet
Right before Rosh Hashana, Rabin Square will be adorned with a special gift from Brussels - a stunning floral carpet sprawling over 1,500 square meters and counting 800,000 blooms. Booths in the square will sell flowers and gifts for the holidays. The carpet will be laid by a team from Belgium aided by local specialists.
October: Garden City
7: Dedication of the Green Route
The third in a series of new pathways in the city, the Green Route follows the length of the Yarkon River from the Tel Aviv Port to Ramat Hahayal in the east. The path goes around the city's parks and connects the bustling urban landscape to its natural surroundings.
19-22: International Fashion Week
Israel's first International Fashion Week will host the country's top designers for a four-day event full of glitz and glamor in the Tel Aviv Port.
17: Centennial Bicycle Ride
100 kilometers of biking trails will be completed in the Centennial Year, and the event will be celebrated with a massive ride in cooperation with Tel Aviv-Jaffa's Sports Department. The event features a biking fair, bike stunts, a second-hand market and more throughout the city.
November and December: On Our Streets
November: Reel Pleasures
Throughout the month, Tel Aviv Cinematheque celebrates its 25th anniversary with the dedication of a new wing. The dedication will be accompanied by a series of festive events and screenings, including the "Tel Aviv Location" project, featuring films created especially for the Centennial by Tel Aviv University and Minshar film students.
December 17: Bialik Street: The Centennial year draws to a close with the dedication of a new museum of the history of Tel Aviv-Jaffa housed in the original Tel Aviv City Hall on Bialik Street. It will contain an archival library of local history for public use and opens to the public at the beginning of 2010.
For more information on Tel Aviv's planned centennial events go to www.tvl100.co.il