City-wide Birthday Celebration
Throughout the city , 4/3/2009
After a more dignified opening ceremony Thursday attended by the president, Tel Avivians took to the streets Friday to celebrate their city's 100th birthday in a more raucous manner.
With unexpectedly blue skies and sunny weather, central boulevards and plazas across Tel Aviv were packed with street performers and merry-makers.
At one end of leafy Rothschild Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in the city, a group of entertainers on stilts handed out candies, while a parade of drummers and scantily clad dancers lent a Brazilian carnival air, albeit to the tune of Hava Nagila.
Further down the boulevard, a crowd gathered to listen to physician-turned-street performer Natan, who played the electric guitar and bantered with his audience.
There was also entertainment for the children, with a clown performing a crowd-pleasing routine with plungers and a suitcase, willing assisted by his young audience.
Street vendors selling t-shirts emblazoned with familiar urban icons hung their wares from the trees that run the length of the boulevard. Nearby, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, sporting a festive party hat, greeted local residents with a handshake and backslap and a cheery "Happy Birthday Tel Aviv!"
The festivities continue Saturday, with a special prayer session in the morning, and in the evening, a host of Israeli musicians take to the stage for a free concert in Rabin Square. Saturday night's special guest is Zubin Mehta, who will be conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.