Visitors from all over came to say "Happy Birthday" in person to the Golden Gate Bridge Sunday, the day the iconic bridge turned 75 years old.
When the sun started setting, the crowd began to gather at the base of the lighted bridge to watch a spectacular fireworks show at 9:30 p.m., streamed live on NBC Bay Area's website. Highlights ran on NBC Bay Area television at 11 p.m.
The crowd favorite was the opening firework: of a lighted waterfall cascading over the bridge.
The 20-minute colorful display followed the gay atmosphere of the day: fun, but not too crowded.
In the late afternoon, Golden Gate bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie said the crowds were "moderate," with lots of people biking and walking along the entire waterfront from Fort Point to Marina Green, and even beyond, all the way to Pier 39. There were no traffic nightmares to report, she said, as most heeded the warnings about parking and transportation beforehand.
Here's what Crissy Field looked like Sunday afternoon.
Some wanted to dangle their feet in the cold bay, enjoying great views of the bridge.
Countless photographers stopped by the Golden Gate Bridge area, too, memorializing the day with their unusual images. Here's a photo taken by @yoshio90 on Twitter. It's a shot taken directly under the bridge.
Matt Kiolbassa, fire marshal at the Presidio of San Francisco, tweeted this photograph of Crissy Field on Sunday. The crowds didn't look too bad.
Here's what some people told NBC Bay Area about how they were celebrating the day's activities, and what the bridge meant to them personally:
Rebecca Ellessen, Ann McIntosh and Betty Meroshnekoff said their parents married on the Golden Gate Bridge 75 years ago, on June 1 at midnight.
The women also said some of their relatives helped build the bridge, and they have a lot "invested" in the structure.
Bob and Tuty Lockhart, who are originally from the East Coast, said they planned to spend the whole day enjoying bridge activities, and would stop home for a nap before the fireworks.
Christie Clover said she has lived in the Bay Area all of her life, and the bridge is her "landmark, her home."
David Clover added that he tries to start off the new year with a walk on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Steven Miller, a worker with the Golden Gate Bridge District, shows off one of the first cars ever to roll across the bridge 75 years ago.
Since the bridge opened in 1937, more than two billion vehicles have crossed the 1.7-mile-long bridge named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Despite its majestic beauty, the bridge has also become a popular place to commit suicide. A group called the Bridge Rail Foundation, which is dedicated to stopping those suicides, erected a display of 1,558 pairs of shoes, representing the number of people who have died by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened.
Happy Birthday GGB!
Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at Twitter.com/ljfernandez.