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Only on NBC Bay Area: Bob Redell is the only TV reporter allowed atop the Golden Gate Bridge. He took the elevator up. Watch him as he tours the bridge as a preview for the 75th anniversary celebration scheduled for Sunday.
Thousands of people are expected to flock to San Francisco's waterfront this weekend to mark the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary.
Several celebrations are scheduled at the iconic span all weekend including anniversary tours of the bridge and a Golden Gate Festival featuring arts and music on Saturday. The festivities culminate with a fireworks display Sunday night.
The California Highway Patrol is urging attendees to use public transportation due to the heavy volume of traffic expected this weekend.
On Friday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee were among the dignitaries to present bridge officials with proclamations honoring the bridge. They later participated in ribbon-cutting ceremonies to usher in new sites on the bridge plaza including a Pavilion welcome center.
Orange -- in the form of hats, scarves, clothing, shoes, earrings, sunglasses, nail polish and even lipstick -- was the color of choice worn by many of the 400 guests attending the Golden Gate Bridge ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Among the crowd was nonagenarian Gus Villalta, of Los Banos, who grew up in San Francisco and worked on the bridge's south tower as a teenager.
The guests of honor also included descendants of the men who built the bridge almost eight decades ago, such as Lucinda Hithcock Cone and Christine Steele Cone, granddaughters of Russell Cone, who supervised construction on the bridge through its completion in 1937.
The 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge was a structure that people said couldn't be built.
Brown and others spoke of the determination to build such an iconic structure.
Just one year into the Great Depression, in 1930, voters passed a $35 million bond measure to finance the bridge. Although the bridge was constructed in four years and five months, the last of its construction bonds were retired on July 1, 1971. Bridge tolls financed nearly all of the $35 million in principal and approximately $39 million in interest.
The bridge's legacy lives on, Pelosi said, thanks to federal stimulus dollars provided by President Obama as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Some of that money is paying for the new Presidio Parkway, the San Francisco approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, which Pelosi said is "enhancing what this bridge means to us and what it does for us."
All three elected officials -- Lee, Brown and Pelosi -- presented bridge officials with proclamations at the local, state and federal level declaring Friday be observed in the bridge's name.
The event concluded with the official opening of several bridge plaza buildings, some old -- such as the renovated historic Roundhouse -- and some new, such as the Bridge Pavilion Welcome Center.
Bay City News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.