A colorful 19th century Fourth of July!

The Westwind Brass Ensemble plays on stage in Old Town San Diego's plaza during an 1800's Fourth of July.
The Westwind Brass Ensemble plays in Old Town’s plaza during an 1800’s Fourth of July.

Today a good crowd turned out for a festive 4th of July in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Every year this event provides a taste of what Independence Day would have been like in the 19th century. Fourth of July celebrations in San Diego would have officially commenced in 1848 when the small town became part of the United States.

If you remember some photographs that I posted three years ago, you might notice the event hasn’t changed much. But I love the color and history and the public participation so much I decided to go once again!

Many came out to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to enjoy an old-fashioned Independence Day.
Many came out to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to enjoy an old-fashioned Independence Day.
The Old Town 4th of July offered entertainments that would have been common in the 19th century, after San Diego became part of the United States.
The Old Town 4th of July offered entertainments that would have been common in the 19th century, after San Diego became part of the United States.
Boosters of Old Town San Diego Historic Park raise money by selling sliced watermelon and pies.
Boosters of Old Town San Diego Historic Park raise money by selling sliced watermelon and pies.
Members of the San Pasqual Battlefield Volunteer Association had a tent with historical displays.
Members of the San Pasqual Battlefield Volunteer Association had a tent with historical displays.
Photos or reenacted history near San Diego, including the Battle of San Pasqual during the Mexican–American War.
Photos or reenacted history near San Diego, including the Battle of San Pasqual during the Mexican–American War.
A family at Old Town's Fourth of July event learns all about spinning yarn.
A family at Old Town’s Fourth of July event learns all about spinning yarn.
Members of the Historic Quilt Guild had some of their beautiful handiwork on display.
Members of the Historic Quilt Guild had some of their beautiful handiwork on display.
These kids were making stuff with beads.
These kids were making stuff with beads.
Kids have fun with hoops on the grass. Simple play from an age long past.
Kids have fun with hoops on the grass. Simple play from an age long past.
A sack race has everyone laughing.
A sack race has everyone laughing.
This friendly guy near the blacksmith shop was making an axe handle.
This friendly guy near the blacksmith shop was making an ax handle.
Families were peering into the active blacksmith shop.
Families were peering into the active blacksmith shop.
Talking about how iron was shaped in Old Town San Diego in the 19th century.
Talking about how iron was shaped in Old Town San Diego in the 19th century.
All sorts of nostalgic music and dances entertained the crowd.
All sorts of nostalgic music and dances and contests entertained the crowd.
Handing out small American flags to those in the audience.
Handing out small American flags to those in the audience.
The keynote address reminds everyone of the meaning of Independence Day.
The keynote address reminds everyone of the meaning of Independence Day.
Old Glory readied to be raised on the plaza flagpole.
Old Glory readied to be raised on the plaza flagpole.

Diverse people in period costume read segments of the Declaration of Independence.
Diverse people in period costume read segments of the Declaration of Independence. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Volunteers from the crowd also went on stage to read portions of the Declaration of Independence.
Several people attending the event also volunteered to go on stage to read portions of the Declaration of Independence.
A patriotic parade for the Fourth of July commences around Old Town San Diego's historic plaza.
A patriotic parade for the Fourth of July commences around Old Town San Diego’s historic plaza.

Ordinary Americans are invited to join the parade.
Everyday ordinary Americans are invited to join the parade.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

House of USA celebrates in Balboa Park!

During my walk through Balboa Park this afternoon, I observed members of the House of USA setting up for their lawn program at the International Cottages. And suddenly I remembered Independence Day is coming up on Thursday!

After walking a little more about the park, I returned to the International Cottages right at two o’clock, just in time for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The crowd wasn’t very large, but everyone was enjoying a fine occasion. The House of USA was serving up hot dogs, and people were stepping inside their cottage to see all sorts of cultural and historical displays. Outside on the stage, Navy Band Southwest’s outstanding Prevailing Winds Ensemble was playing a mixture of classic and popular tunes. I really enjoyed their great rendition of music from The Incredibles!

I checked out a couple of booths on the lawn. The House of USA princess posed for a cool photo. I met a gentlemen promoting the Civil Air Patrol.

Over the years, Civil Air Patrol volunteers have saved thousands of lives. They’re the ones who often transport emergency supplies after a disaster, spot people trapped on rooftops during catastrophic floods, and locate hikers lost in the mountains. I learned they have a cadet program for youth interesting in aviation, personal growth and community service.

The Civil Air Patrol always needs volunteers! Click here to learn more!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Manzanita Mountain Man Rendezvous!

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live as a mountain man? Trekking through the wilderness as a trapper or frontier explorer? Journeying through the untamed American West as a trader, prospector, scout or pioneer?

What would it be like to leave the comforts and routine obligations of a civilized life behind? To go where few had gone before, finding your own way over rugged mountains, across uncharted rivers, living on the land, camping beneath the stars?

Today I learned a little of what that was like. I drove an hour east of San Diego to Northcote Ranch to enjoy the 26th Annual Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous!

This modern reenactment of an historic Rocky Mountain rendezvous takes place in the beautiful countryside near Lake Morena. It attracts reenactors and visiting history buffs, school students and families from all around the Southwest. Every single participant I met was extremely friendly. They showed me and other visitors around with enthusiasm.

I observed many participants in period costumes camping in canvas tents and tepees across a broad field and among shady trees. Many of the campers create their own leather goods, jewelry and other Old West artifacts.

As I walked about, I listened to frontier music, visited a gunsmith, looked at the wares of different traders, and stepped inside a couple of the largest tepees. On several outdoor ranges I observed people throwing tomahawks, shooting arrows, even shooting authentic black powder muskets. I even enjoyed a good old hamburger and tater tots at The Hungry Dowg restaurant tent!

Other rendezvous activities, which happened to be idle during my visit today, include blacksmithing, candle making and woodworking. There is something intriguing everywhere one turns!

I photographed some of the informative signs, including one that concerns San Diego’s early history–particularly the 1820s to 1840s, when Fur Trade goods were sold to merchant ships that traveled around Cape Horn. Back then a wandering trapper would occasionally come into Old Town. Click those photos and they’ll enlarge for easy reading!

If you’ve never been to a mountain man rendezvous, make sure to put the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous on your calendar for next year. Kids absolutely love it.

This fantastic event is open to the general public and admission is free!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Art exhibition interprets Music in the Key of Blue.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library's Joseph Clayes III Gallery
Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s beautiful Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

A fantastic exhibition of work by San Diego artist Jim Machacek has recently opened at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Yesterday I headed to La Jolla to have a “listen” with my eyes.

The abstract pieces of Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue are arranged inside the library’s Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

According to the Athenaeum’s description, the exhibition “reflects Jim’s recurring interest in the concept of making music visual. Using his favorite media of printmaking, drawing, collage, and watercolor, he hopes to make YOU see what HE sees when listening to music. He chose favorite musical selections that have the word blue in the titles from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country, rock, folk, and standards.”

Among these emotionally evocative pieces you’ll find a unique visual interpretation of George Gershwin’s timeless Rhapsody in Blue. Seventy mixed-media prints cascade like living notes of music across the north and east walls of the sunlit gallery. Walk along these walls and you’ll feel like you’re moving in rhythm with a beloved American classic.

After you absorb this great art, take a leisurely stroll through the unique and historic Athenaeum. You’ll discover even more art in unexpected corners, and rooms overflowing with beauty wherever you turn.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue can be enjoyed at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library through May 4, 2019.

The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It's a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It’s a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum's spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum’s spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.

Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.
Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.

Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her younger brother.
Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her deceased younger brother.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
These mysterious, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
These complex, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
Fill your eyes with music.
Fill your eyes with music.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Massing of the Colors in San Diego.

The 62nd Annual Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance was held this morning at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The stirring, patriotic event is organized by the San Diego Chapter of The Military of the World Wars. Its purpose is to honor the flag and support and remember those who have served our country and defended liberty, including those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The parade of color guards this year included about 30 groups, from a variety of local organizations representing ordinary Americans, the military, veterans, law enforcement, JROTC and ROTC, and scouting.

The annual Massing of the Colors has been held at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for 62 years without interruption. During a speech, special recognition was given to the Daughters of the American Revolution, who have faithfully participated in this patriotic celebration every single year.

When I arrived at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, a practice run was just finishing up. After a short wait, the parade of color guards commenced.

I will let my photographs tell the story.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Paintings by Kadir Nelson exhibited in San Diego.

So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

An important exhibition of paintings by acclaimed artist Kadir Nelson is now showing at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

On display is the original artwork used to illustrate the picture book Blue Sky, White Stars, this year’s KPBS One Book, One San Diego for Kids Selection. Young students across our city will be reading the picture book this year, sharing their experience together. The author is Sarvinder Naberhaus.

The book’s original paintings by Kadir Nelson contain iconic American imagery, and often include the patriotic red, white and blue of the American flag. Ideals such as Liberty, Justice and Equality proudly live in the faces of his subjects. His powerful, humane artwork has been compared to that of Norman Rockwell.

Kadir Nelson spent his formative years in San Diego, attending Crawford High School. The exhibition at the San Diego History Center includes a few examples of his early drawings.

As an artist of international stature, Kadir Nelson has produced art for many award-winning books, The New Yorker magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, and Major League Baseball. His work appears on United States Postal Service commemorative stamps and on Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album. His paintings can be found in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Visit this exhibition at the San Diego History Center and you’ll quickly see that Kadir Nelson is a truly extraordinary American artist, whose striking images linger in your mind. You’ll also perceive the optimism and heart that gives amazing life to his work.

The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Colors of patriotism at big Fourth of July parade!

Flags move forward down Orange Avenue during the 2018 Fourth of July Parade in Coronado.
Flags move forward down Orange Avenue during the 2018 Fourth of July Parade in Coronado.

This morning I headed to Coronado to enjoy another Fourth of July parade.

This is the third year I’ve photographed the epic event. I had considered going elsewhere this year, but Independence Day in Coronado is special, and their patriotic parade is arguably the very best in the entire country, so I couldn’t resist experiencing it all again one more time!

I arrived early to Coronado and walked about for a bit, then found a spot on the parade route just before it started down Orange Avenue.

Here are some colorful photos…

People gather in Coronado for a patriotic Fourth of July Celebration.
People slowly gather in Coronado for a patriotic Fourth of July Celebration.
A guy waits on the sidewalk for the big morning parade with a flag ready.
A guy waits on the sidewalk for the big morning parade with his flag ready.
Red, white and blue bunting could be seen on shops and buildings throughout Coronado.
Red, white and blue bunting could be seen on shops and buildings throughout Coronado.
Kid heads down Orange Avenue on a small bicycle decorated for Independence Day.
Kid heads down Orange Avenue on a small bicycle decorated for Independence Day.
Many homes had patriotic banners and decorations. Most residents in Coronado support our country and our liberty.
Many homes had patriotic banners and decorations. Most residents in Coronado support our country and its core principle of human liberty.
A smiling Uncle Sam at someone's front gate.
A smiling Uncle Sam at someone’s front gate.
These tie-dye Coronado shirts in front of a shop are red, white and blue.
These tie-dye Coronado shirts in front of a shop are red, white and blue.
People relax and look at artwork for sale in Spreckels Park. An afternoon concert in the park features patriotic music.
People relax and look at artwork for sale in Spreckels Park. An afternoon concert in the park features patriotic music.
Patriotic wreath and bouquet in front of the Coronado Police headquarters honor and remember Senior Volunteer Patrol volunteers who recently passed away.
Patriotic wreath and bouquet in front of the Coronado Police headquarters honor and remember Senior Volunteer Patrol volunteers who recently passed away.
Portraits of hometown heroes.
Portraits of hometown heroes.
People head down Orange Avenue as the parade is about to begin.
People head down Orange Avenue to get in their spots as the parade is about to begin.
Hats are removed and hands placed over hearts as thousands sing the National Anthem.
Hats are removed and hands placed over hearts as thousands sing the National Anthem.
Can you see it yet? Here comes the parade!
Can you see it yet? The parade? Here it comes!
Members of San Diego County law enforcement come down the parade route on horseback.
Members of San Diego County law enforcement from Escondido ride down the parade route on horseback.
The Grand Marshall this year was Vice Admiral Brown.
The distinguished Grand Marshall this year was Vice Admiral Brown.
Several waving Pearl Harbor survivors received great applause from the crowd.
Several heroic Pearl Harbor survivors received great applause from the crowd.
The Fourth of July Parade in Coronado goes on and on with too many participants to mention!
The Fourth of July Parade in Coronado goes on and on with too many participants to mention!
A patriotic pooch.
A patriotic pooch.
Here comes the Marine Corps Band San Diego.
Here comes Marine Corps Band San Diego.
Military heroes march by on Independence Day.
Military based in San Diego march by on Independence Day.
Wounded Warriors get a big Welcome Home!
Wounded Warriors get a big Welcome Home!
A big American flag carried by many hands.
A gigantic American flag carried by many hands.
Smiles and many who are proud to live in the land of the free.
Smiles from many who are happy to live in the Land of the Free.
Here comes the Castle Park High School Trojan Brigade!
Here comes the Castle Park High School Trojan Brigade! They came up from Chula Vista.
As you might imagine,lots of cool cars were in the parade.
As you might imagine, lots of cool cars were in the parade.
Kids wave to the crowd.
A driver touches hands with the crowd as kids wave.
I think I see Maverick of Top Gun in that cockpit! No, it's actually a friendly young Tom Cruise look-alike who I've seen posing for photos by the USS Midway Museum.
I think I see Maverick of Top Gun in that cockpit! No, it’s actually a young Tom Cruise look-alike who sometimes poses for photos by the USS Midway Museum. I spoke to him once and he’s a super friendly cool guy.
The USS Midway Museum is always an important participant in San Diego's patriotic celebrations.
The USS Midway Museum is always an important participant in San Diego’s patriotic events.
During patriotic holidays, the Rotary Club of Coronado lines Orange Avenue's grassy median with American flags.
During patriotic holidays, the Rotary Club of Coronado lines Orange Avenue’s grassy median with American flags.
Here comes Honest Abe!
Look! Here comes Honest Abe!
I was getting hungry and hoped she'd accidentally flip a pancake my way.
I was getting hungry and hoped this lady might accidentally flip a pancake my way.
Guys in wheelchairs shoot hoops behind the Rotary float.
Guys in wheelchairs shoot hoops behind the Rotary float.
Another hero is celebrated. He represents The Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
Another hero is celebrated. He represents The Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
There were lots of parade participants on horseback.
There were lots of parade participants on horseback.
Another American Veteran is saluted. I saw many members of The Greatest Generation being thanked for their service long ago.
Another American veteran is saluted. I saw many members of The Greatest Generation being thanked for their service long ago.
More pageantry, another marching band.
More pageantry, another marching band.
Members of the United States Navy march past.
Members of the United States Navy march past.
A flag held high greets passing musicians.
A flag held high greets passing musicians.
A beauty queen smiles and waves.
A beauty queen, seeing my camera, smiles and waves!
People watch the big parade from a building on Orange Avenue.
People watch the big parade from a building on Orange Avenue.
Flags everywhere.
Flags everywhere.

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