50th Anniversary Events and Milestones

The City of Irvine celebrated our 50th anniversary of incorporation through a variety of activities throughout the year! Thank you to all residents, businesses, and visitors for celebrating this milestone with us. Watch the video recap of all the ways we celebrated and view details and photos of events below!

Recap of  Events

Party at the Park: Irvine's 50th Birthday Party

The City of Irvine threw a birthday party December 11 at Great Park for our milestone birthday event! The day was filled with music and dancing, cultural performances, crafts and interactive activities, and special surprises — including drone and fireworks shows, and a balloon drop.

Party at the Park Photos

Party at the Park Photo Slideshow
A montage of images from the history of Irvine's 50 years, as submitted by residents, businesses, and visitors as part of the 50th anniversary photo contest.


50th Anniversary Photo Contest 

We invited residents, businesses, and visitors to help us celebrate our anniversary by partaking in our photo contest. Over 500 photos that capture the essence of Irvine were submitted — ranging from our neighborhoods and residents, open space, history, and events over the decades. City of Irvine staff and a panel judged the photos to select the grand prize winner and the finalists in each category.

View the Winners

Photo Submissions


50th Anniversary Symposium and Photo Exhibition Reception

Winning photos in each category and finalists were displayed at a photo contest exhibition at the Irvine Civic Center, and the winning photographers celebrated with us during a reception in December 2021.

Symposium and Photo Contest Exhibition Photos

A special oral history video and symposium panel, led by moderator Councilmember Mike Carroll, highlighted the ways in which Irvine came to be the model master-planned community it is today. 

Irvine at 50 Video 
A video retrospective of the City of Irvine's first 50 years.

Symposium Panel Video 
A recording of the symposium panel, led by moderator Councilmember Mike Carroll


1971: Building Irvine

Great Park Hangar 244
Ongoing

In 1971 the City of Irvine became an incorporated city by the State of California, enabling it to become the thriving city we know today. In collaboration with University California, Irvine, Hangar 244 at the Great Park presents 1971: Building Irvine. Through historic photography and text, this exhibition celebrates community milestones, landmarks, and spaces built after 1971 while recognizing the past that brought us here. Learn more about the exhibition and how you can view it in person here

1971: Building Irvine photos


50th Anniversary Photo Frame Tour

We loved seeing you smile behind our 50th Anniversary Photo frame, which toured throughout Irvine throughout the year. Look for images on social media using the hashtag #Irvine50thPhotos and see how others joined in on the celebration. 

Photo Frame Images


Studio 50 Dance Party

Our community put on their best disco-era attire and grooved to the sounds of the '70s, in honor of the City’s founding in 1971. This dance party had everyone on their feet on the dance floor!

Studio 50 Dance Party Photos


50 for 50 Fitness Challenge

Irvine Seniors got moving in celebration of our anniversary! They were asked to run, walk, bike, swim, or skate and complete 50 miles on their own time at any desired location. Great job to those who participated!


Orange County Soccer Club Irvine Night

In celebration of the City's 50th anniversary, the Orange County Soccer Club hosted Irvine Resident Night in October for a game against the San Diego Loyal Soccer Club at Great Park. Visitors enjoyed specials prior to the game and a chance to visit with local Irvine businesses to celebrate small business at Championship Soccer Stadium at Great Park. The Orange County Soccer Club was recognized at a City Council meeting in December 2021. See images below.

Orange County Soccer Club Recognition Photos


Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian communities. It is the second-most important holiday after Chinese New Year and dates back over 3,000 years, when the Emperor of China worshipped the moon for bountiful harvests.

The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, during a full moon that coincides with harvest time in the middle of autumn. This year, our community came out for This family-friendly festival, which included entertainment, crafts, food trucks, tea, and moon cakes — the traditional food of the festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival Video


Shoebox Parade

In celebration of Irvine’s 50th Anniversary, individuals and families were invited to design a "shoebox float" that features what they love about Irvine. They joined the “parade” by grabbing a shoebox or similar structure, and decorating it as a miniature parade float. The top three shoebox creations were selected by City staff representing all departments, and all entries delivered to the City were on display at Irvine's Global Village Festival in October 2021. 

Top Three Entries

Congratulations to the top three entries in the Shoebox Float Parade:

Connecting to the Sights of Beautiful Irvine by Brad Martin

Jeffrey Trail Open Space by Yan Su

Summer fun by the pond by Ariel Chen

View All Entries


Chalk Art Projects

The community gathered at various community centers this summer to contribute to drawing a chalk rendition of the Irvine 50th anniversary logo! Residents, family, friends, and visitors had fun creating their own unique design of our logo. 

Chalk Art Project Photos


Irvine Animal Care Center Virtual 5K

Participants from all across the City took part in our Virtual 5K by running, walking, or jogging a 5K throughout the month of April 2021. Fees for the 5K helped provide care and shelter for adoptable animals at the Irvine Animal Care Center. 


Arbor Day

In honor of Arbor Day and the City’s 50th anniversary, the City’s Youth Action Team, volunteers, and City staff planted 50 trees throughout Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. With over 550,000 trees, Irvine has been designated as a “Tree City USA” for over 30 years, and the planting of new trees helps keep this designation. 

In addition, a memorial bench was installed at the park to honor those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.

Watch the Video