Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Leela: What are we delivering?
Professor Farnsworth: Something without which no ribbon-cutting ceremony could proceed: the ceremonial oversized scissors.
Leela: We'll get them there as quickly as we can.
Professor Farnsworth: All right, but don't run with them.

This is where there is a ceremony to celebrate the completion of some edifice, like a bridge, road, building, ship, etc. Although ships are different in that they don't have a ribbon cutting but a champagne-bottle breaking.

This ceremony usually has a large red ribbon tied between the front doors or arches of said edifice, huge scissors and a politician who cuts the ribbon while announcing that the X is now open.

Truth in Television, it's a great publicity event for those involved. Actual ribbon not necessary.

Examples of Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony include:


  • An American TV advertisement has a couple driving a car and the GPS device directs them to a bridge. At the exact moment when the politician cuts the red ribbon and announces the bridge is now open, the car arrives and drives across it. Apparently, the GPS device is just that good.

Comic Books

  • In one Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Robotnik was getting ready to cut a ribbon for some sort of ceremony. At that moment, the Freedom Fighters (minus Sonic, who is stuck in the past) charge onto the scene and start attacking the robot soldiers. Robotnik responds "Oh no! I can't escape! Mother told me never to run with scissors!"
  • Cleopatra does this at the opening of her new palace in Asterix and Cleopatra.


  • Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (Lepa sela lepo gore) opens with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the "Tunnel of Brotherhood and Unity" going horribly wrong when the dignitary gets his thumb caught in the scissors splattering blood all over the little pioneer girl standing next to him.
  • Star Trek Generations shows a bottle-breaking for the launch of Enterprise-B; the bottle is shown careering through empty space before abruptly shattering against the ship's hull.
    • The original Enterprise in the first Star Trek movie also had a champagne bottle ceremony.
  • In A Hard Day's Night, John Lennon plays with the ribbon cutting ceremony, cutting a tailor's measuring tape...
    • In the movie, John says "I now declare this bridge open!" as he cuts the ribbon, but in unseen takes before that, he'd ceremoniously cut the ribbon for other (ridiculous) places, such as a "fish and chips shop."
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, the opening ceremony for the saloon is a trap: cutting the ribbon would have triggered a giant mousetrap on the stands where the mice were sitting.
  • In K-19: The Widowmaker, the champagne bottle fails to break at the launch ceremony for the eponymous submarine. This is taken as a very bad omen.
  • In The Towering Inferno, the mayor of San Francisco is cutting the ribbon to open the building with an enormous pair of scissors, and as a homage to such events, doesn't quite cut it all the way through on the first slice.
  • Wild Wild West has the famous "golden spike" event. Interestingly, it fails, if for other reasons than in Real Life.
  • There are two in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: "Baby" Brent cutting the ribbon to unveil Sardine Land, and Flint cutting the ribbon to reopen the town, using the same oversized ceremonial scissors, which have to be pried away from Brent.
  • Megamind opens and ends with these. The film starts (after Megamind's Origin Story) with Metro Man cutting the ribbon to his museum with Eye Beams. The ceremony gets interrupted by Megamind. At the end, the museum has ben re-dedicated to the reformed Megamind, who cuts the ribbon with a Lightning Gun.
  • Shrek in the third film tries to launch a ship but ends up punching a hole in it with the bottle and sinking it.
  • In Explorers, the young heroes try to christen their Tilt-a-Whirl-cum-spaceship by breaking a bottle of soda over it. After trying several times without success to break the bottle, the weilder tosses it over his shoulder into the woods, whereupon it smashes on the ground.

Live-Action TV

  • When Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear was asked to open a swimming pool, he felt that the obvious method was to use a Rolls-Royce to cut the ribbon. Coincidentally, since the pool was directly behind the ribbon, Hilarity Ensues.
  • The 25th season premiere of Sesame Street included a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new playground around the corner from 123 Sesame Street. The problem was, as soon as Biff knocked the wall down, Big Bird and his friends started playing on the playground before the official ceremony could take place.
  • An episode of Friends had Monica go to a ribbon ceremony for a new hospital wing with her rich boyfriend. They both agree that the ceremony is boring and decide to leave. On their way out he cuts the ribbon and get his picture taken because he was the one who had donated the money for the hospital.
  • George Bluth from Arrested Development loved to open new buildings with a lavish ribbon-cutting ceremony. At one point GOB had them build a fake house so flimsy that when they cut the ribbon it fell apart, and GOB attacked Michael with the giant scissors.
  • One episode of My Name Is Earl, during a "Bad Earl" flashback, has a reporter showing a new rehab center opening this way, but the ribbon cutter is obviously drunk and failing. And then Earl and Randy run through the ribbon.
  • When the crew of Galactica handbuild a stealth fighter out of spare parts in the remake of Battlestar Galactica, they name it "Laura" after President Laura Roslin, and naturally invite her to christen it with a bottle of champagne. Roslin raises the bottle to break it over the nose, whereupon everyone shouts "No! No!" as it's one of the last bottles of champagne left in the universe. Roslin says, "Just kidding!" and settles for sprinkling some of the bubbly instead.


Video Games

  • One of the minigames in Work Time Fun has you playing a bungling politician who has to cut a ribbon at such a ceremony... while drunk.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • The page quote comes from the Futurama episode "Brannigan Begin Again". The Planet Express crew arrives at the new Democratic Order of Planets (D.O.O.P.) headquarters in orbit around the Neutral Planet, in order to deliver the oversized scissors for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Zapp Brannigan destroys the entire station by attempting to use his ship's laser to cut the ribbon, instead of using the scissors.
    • In "A Flight To Remember", the christening of the Spaceship Titanic was done by smashing a jar that held Leonardo DiCaprio's head, rather than a champagne bottle.
  • In the episode of The Simpsons where Ned opens Praiseland, Mayor Quimby drives up in his limo, simply pokes his head out of the window and says, "It is with, uh, great pride that I dedicate this new school, sports arena or attraction." The mayor cuts the ribbon and just drives off.
  • In the episode of Top Cat in which Benny's mother shows up, she attempts to "christen" a ship by whacking it with the bottle, but whacks Officer Dibble instead. Later, when she cuts the ribbon to "open" a bridge, a similar incident happens to Dibble.
  • In one episode of Fillmore!, a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new bathroom provides a vital clue: the girl cutting the ribbon used her left hand and was wearing a glove, indicating that she was left-handed and that she had a marker stain on her wrist from vandalizing the bathrooms.
  • One happens in a SpongeBob SquarePants episode. The mayor of Bikini Bottom declared an unfinished bridge open, just in time for Spongebob and the police to drive right off of it.
  • In the series Sidekick, super heros must cut ribbons at ceremonies to keep a large Ribbon monster from returning to attack the city. Eric learns this the hard way.

Real Life

  • In the USA, the First Transcontinental Railroad was ceremonially completed on May 10, 1869, at the famous "golden spike" event at Promontory Summit, Utah. Despite TV and movie portrayals, written historical records indicate that when the first strike was made, it missed. "Someone cried out, 'he missed it, huzzah!' he tried again, 'he still missed it!'" Apparently the third try was successful.
  • Just before the Sydney Harbour Bridge's ribbon was about to be cut, a pro-monarchist protester charged toward the ribbon, on horseback, and sliced it with a sword before the official ribbon-cutter could react.
  • Happens every year at the beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Also popular are ground-breaking ceremonies, which are arguably more ridiculous.