SACRAMENTO, Calif. Prepared with more than 350 volunteers, 8,400 cookies and more than 100 gallons of punch, the first day of the open house for the newly completed Sacramento California Temple went off without a hitch.
"It couldn't have been better, even the weather cooperated," said S. Dennis Holland, Northern California director of public affairs.
Just slightly fewer than 6,000 visitors toured the temple and the grounds as it opened to the public Saturday, July 29. Although the first tours were not scheduled to begin until 9 a.m., guests began arriving early, including 250 members of the Chico 5th Ward who had traveled two hours by bus. "We didn't want them to wait until 9 o'clock, so we started taking them in as soon as they arrived," Brother Holland reported.
In the days leading up to the open house, Northern California experienced a sweltering heat wave that claimed the lives of more than 100 residents of the state. A new record of 11 straight days of temperatures over 100 degrees (many exceeding 110) was almost unbearable. Tour hosts in training sessions even noted that the heat was burning through the soles of their shoes on the short walk from the temple back to the hosting center in the meetinghouse adjacent to the temple.
With just two days to go, the blistering heat started to roll back just a bit. The temperature started to drop just a little, then just a little more and the delta breezes moved through the Sacramento valley.
"On the first day of open house, it wasn't just bearable, it was actually quite pleasant," noted volunteer Dianna Hall of the Fair Oaks California Stake.
The open house continues through August 26, except Sundays. The hours of the open house tours are Monday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tickets are required of all visitors to the open house, and are free of charge. They can be obtained at the site: www.lds.org/reservations.
Ward tour group representatives and organizers and those without Internet access can call (800) 537-6214. The reservation desk is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It is estimated between 150,000 and 160,000 visitors will tour the 19,500-square-foot temple which sits on a hill overlooking Lake Natoma.
The Sacramento California Temple was announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley on April 21, 2001. The planning and permit process took just over three years; ground was broken by President Hinckley on Aug. 22, 2004. The temple will be dedicated Sept. 3, 2006.