“Navy Proud”: Norfolk plans celebrations for base’s 100th anniversary

“Navy Proud”: Norfolk plans celebrations for base’s 100th anniversary
By Eric Hartley
The Virginian-Pilot

NORFOLK

The city that’s home to the world’s largest naval base is planning a year full of celebrations for its 100th anniversary.

Centennial events for Norfolk Naval Station kick off this week.

Officials created a logo featuring the slogan “Norfolk: Navy Proud. 100 Years.” They plan to plaster it on billboards, bumper stickers and public buses. There also will be promotions online and in print.

The plans came from the Naval Station Centennial Commission, which the City Council appointed in September.

Highlights of the year’s events include a Blue Angels flyover tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13, a Navy League gala June 28 and Navy tribute nights at professional and college sporting events.

In many cases, Navy celebrations have been added to existing events. Karen Scherberger, vice chairwoman of the centennial commission, said more than 35 events are confirmed so far, with more in the works.
“It’s certainly rewarding and feels wonderful when so quickly the community responded when we sent the invitation out,” she said. “It wasn’t 24 hours before we started hearing.”

The city’s plans are in addition to the Navy’s own official celebrations. The public will be allowed onto the base Oct. 21 to tour ships as part of Fleet Fest.

The centerpiece of the city’s plans is Harborfest. Scherberger, the CEO of organizer Festevents, said it draws more people than any other event in Norfolk.

This year’s Harborfest, she said, will be a “homecoming,” with all who have ever served at Norfolk Naval Station invited. The city is working with the base commander to include more Navy ships in the Parade of Sail, and the fireworks and music will be patriotic, Scherberger said.

Mayor Kenny Alexander and the interim city manager, Doug Smith, said they are still looking at how much the city’s celebrations will cost.

In 1917, after the nation entered World War I, the U.S. government bought property for a Norfolk naval base on the site of the 1907 Jamestown Exposition.

Eric Hartley, 757-932-7511, eric.hartley@pilotonline.com