Painter Dennis "Rocky" Dellarocca takes pride in his work. But unlike most painters, his work is displayed on a national landmark photographed by thousands of people each day. That landmark is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Dellarocca, 58, has been a painter on the Golden Gate Bridge for 28 years, and as a native San Franciscan, he takes a lot of pride in maintaining the historic span's appearance.
"You're taking care of something very special," Dellarocca said. "This is not just a national icon but a world icon, and we're very proud to take care of this bridge."
Dellarocca says the bridge's upcoming 75th anniversary celebration will be business as usual for himself and his crew of 35, who are painting the span constantly. He explained that keeping the bridge's paint job in good shape is a never-ending job that takes place year-round.
Dellarocca's work involves breathtaking heights and stunning vistas.
"It's a pretty great feeling being up that high, 75 feet up on the top of the towers," he said.
The Golden Gate Bridge district has been preparing for the anniversary with a number of special projects and events that will culminate in a big celebration on May 27.
Bridge district spokeswoman Mary Currie said the span was opened up to the public for a "bridge walk" for its 50th anniversary, but that will not happen this time around because of safety concerns.
The big celebration over Memorial Day weekend will include 11 venues stretching from Fort Point to Pier 39, and fireworks will be launched from the bridge, as they were for the 50th anniversary.
The will be debuting a symphony in early May based on sounds associated with the bridge, Currie said.
In addition, a new pavilion will be opening near the bridge's southeastern parking lot in early May that will include a visitor's center and museum and will offer day and night guided tours of the bridge.
Bay City News Service