Ramona Country Fair’s gateway to adventure!

Today I headed to the annual Ramona Country Fair and stepped through their gateway to adventure!

In addition to lots of friendly people and a fun slice of Americana, what did I find?

At the Ramona Country Fair, which is held each summer in rural San Diego County, there is plenty of adventure! And it’s free!
Young and old were trying to shoot bows and arrows, just as folks did once upon a time.
I was greeted by a smiling medieval archer! I declined to pick up a bow. I’m bound to shoot myself in the foot.
Members of The Sovereign Kingdom of Terre Neuve, a subdivision of The Adrian Empire, had gathered at the Ramona Country Fair. Perhaps they arrived by time machine. But seriously, this friendly group recreates Western European culture between the First Viking Raid on Lindisfarne in 793 to the death of King James I of England in 1625.
Chain mail, steel helmets, swords and other instruments from the Age of Chivalry displayed on one table.
A demonstration of medieval combat fascinates those watching.
Getting a bit more intense…
That was a close call!
Meanwhile, adventurous shoppers had much to explore on the grounds of the Ramona Country Fair.
These super friendly folks from the California Avian Health Education Network were informing the community about prevention, early detection, and rapid containment of foreign animal diseases. They also had to endure a couple of my awful chicken jokes.
Artists had their work for sale at the fair. I spotted a cool Yoda created by Boyd’s Crafts!
These two cool guys represented Triple B Adventures, an organization that takes Veterans, including wounded warriors, on hikes, campouts and other adventures around San Diego County.
It’s the 50th Annual Ramona Country Fair as you can see from their poster! Entries into the fair’s art show were displayed nearby.
Some tape prevented my closer approach, but you can see these are winning art entries!
Talk about a gastronomical adventure! Super Burritos. Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. Decisions, decisions…
The Ramona Chamber of Commerce, who puts the annual fair together, greeted me!
Love Ramona is a bunch of friends and neighbors who do good deeds in the community. They began as a local church group.
And, of course, what is a country fair without a huge Fun Zone! I couldn’t believe all the carnival rides. I was told it really gets active later in the day, and in the evening when the outdoor temperature cools. (It was in the 90’s during my late morning visit!)
Look at all the fun prizes!
This four-legged fair-goer was having more fun than some of the two-legged types.
Folks were bringing in horses for the noontime Cowboy Challenge. I’m afraid I didn’t stay for that. Places to go. Things to do.
A good photo caught by sheer chance.
Folks get the arena ready for cowboy action!

Not only did I miss the Cowboy Challenge, but I was disappointed that the Irish Dancing in the fairground’s pavilion had been cancelled for Sunday. Oh, well. I guess that means a future adventure awaits!

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!

Coronado 4th of July parade honors American heroes.

Coronado’s huge Independence Day parade returned this year! The parade’s theme for 2021 was A Salute To America’s Heroes.

Late this morning I walked along Orange Avenue and took photographs of the patriotic spectacle.

The 4th of July Parade was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroes honored in this year’s parade included healthcare workers, essential workers and ordinary Americans–all those who sacrificed to help our nation through a very difficult period.

I’ve blogged about this epic annual parade several times in the past, with photo captions that provide detailed information. Today I’ll simply offer a glimpse of what I experienced.

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!

Cool marquee of the Star in Oceanside!

The next cool thing I came upon during my Oceanside walk yesterday was the historic Star theater building with its incredible marquee!

As I was taking photos, I noticed someone testing different paint colors on the building’s exterior. I subsequently learned from two friendly people of the Star Theatre Company, which now occupies the old movie house, that a new paint job is coming both inside and outside, to make this historic Oceanside landmark even more amazing!

I also learned the Star Theatre, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is hosting an after school Acting Camp for youth with safety precautions, is offering professional audition taping and workshops, and will be offering live streamed performances. To read more check out their website here.

More about the building’s unique history can be read here, including: “The Star Theatre opened the 18th of August 1956 with the movie “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck…Designed by architect William Glenn Balch, the Star was from an era when neon was king and every city was building a drive-in or walk-in theater. The Star Theatre is the largest of Balch’s 17 theaters that were located in the state of California and the last one that is still open. The marquee boasted being the largest in San Diego County and has been noted for its spectacular animation. It is one of the few remaining examples from its era…”

In this difficult period of an extended coronavirus lockdown, the Star Theatre would really appreciate donations, to help keep their important mission moving forward. Please help them here.

Finally, if you’re wondering about the big, colorful mural on the side of the building in the following photograph, check out one of my old blog posts here!

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!

Nostalgic car mural at The Fin Hotel.

During my long walk through Oceanside yesterday, my very first cool discovery was this large nostalgic mural on the side of The Fin Hotel. It depicts a slice of Americana: a small town scene from the mid-20th century.

The Fin Hotel is a boutique hotel that began its life as the Keisker Hotel, built in 1927. Before it was The Fin it was The Dolphin. Today it’s an historic Oceanside landmark that has survived decades of change in the growing city.

The mural, painted by Southern California artist Lisa Kelly, incorporates the cool The Fin Hotel neon sign, as you can see in the coming photos! It also features many classic cars, the Oceanside Pier, and a woodie with a surfboard on top!

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!

Nostalgic old parade mural in El Cajon!

Today I went for a very long walk through El Cajon, in San Diego’s East County. I took so many photographs, lots of interesting blog posts are on the way!

During my walk I came upon this faded mural on a building at the corner of East Main Street and Roanoke Road. It depicts an old-fashioned American parade, apparently from the mid-20th century. I’m assuming the parade is proceeding down El Cajon’s Main Street, but I don’t really know. I could find no date or artist signature. I believe Jackson Hewitt Tax Service used to occupy at least part of this building.

This artwork is so faded, I had to dramatically increase the contrast of my photos.

I’m sure somebody out there knows the history of this nostalgic old mural. If you know anything, please leave a comment!

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!

San Diego history in Rudford’s mural.

A moment in San Diego history is captured in a photographic mural outside Rudford’s Restaurant in North Park.

The exterior of this popular all-American diner, which first opened in 1949, appears today much as it did back in 1963. The mural recalls how on June 6th of that year, President John F. Kennedy passed the restaurant as a crowd looked on.

A description of the event in a corner of the photo mural explains: “In a visit to San Diego…the president traveled down El Cajon Boulevard on his way to San Diego State College where he gave the commence address… This is an actual photo of the motorcade taken by local teenager James Daigh as it passed Rudford’s Restaurant on that Thursday morning…”

Rudford’s Restaurant remains just as popular as ever. The retro diner is open 24 hours a day and treats its customers with home-style cooking and nostalgic decor!

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!

A walk down Escondido’s Grand Avenue.

On Sunday I returned to Escondido. I wanted to explore Grand Avenue–the heart of historic downtown Escondido–a little more thoroughly.

Earlier this year I visited Maple Street Plaza on a Sunday and took a quick look from its south end up and down Grand Avenue. What I glimpsed wasn’t encouraging. Few people. Inactive storefronts. But had I walked a block or two east I would have found a much more lively scene!

Grand Avenue resembles the historic old main streets of many American towns. What used to be the central business district is now home to a multitude of cozy eateries, specialty shops, salons and antique stores. There’s an old restored movie theater, a Rotary Club street clock, a gazebo in a small sunny park, and a friendly feeling of community. During my walk I saw many families just walking along like me, enjoying a late Sunday morning.

I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about Escondido. If you don’t either, enjoy these photos of Grand Avenue as if we are walking together.

I started at the big Escondido landmark sign at Centre City Parkway and headed east. To see some great mosaics in the sidewalk at the intersection, check out my earlier blog post here!

You see that unusual sculpture in the median? I know nothing about it!

I really enjoyed peering into the window of the Timekeepers Watch and Clock Shop and took several photos. Indeed, my walk felt a little like travelling back in time.

After I passed the south end of Maple Street Plaza, I enjoyed looking into the windows of more antique stores. I noticed more and more people sitting in front of various restaurants enjoying Sunday breakfast or an early lunch. (People are dining on sidewalks and streets this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

There’s a very cool display near the entrance to the restored The Ritz Theater, which originally opened in 1937. You can see old film reels and all sorts of interesting equipment that was used in this historic movie house. Unfortunately bright street reflections were impossible for my camera to overcome.

I turned around at Valley Boulevard and headed back west along the opposite sidewalk.

According to a nearby plaque, that great mural on the corner of a building is titled Escondido, the Hidden Valley. It’s by artist Daniel Hernandez.

Finally–you see that cool old car coming down the street near the end of my photos? Grand Avenue is probably best known for its popular Cruisin’ Grand vintage auto show event on Friday nights! (Something I haven’t experienced yet.)

Here we go…

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Mural in Lakeside celebrates a moment in history.

A fantastic mural painted in Lakeside at the corner of Woodside Avenue and Maine Avenue celebrates an important moment in this East County community’s surprising history.

Spectators in old-fashioned garb watch an automobile race around Lindo Lake near the long-vanished Lakeside Inn, once called The Coronado of the Hills because of its architectural similarity to the Hotel del Coronado. On one historic day in 1907, race car driver Barney Oldfield set a new world land speed record.

A corner of the mural indicates this nostalgic artwork was painted by David E. Ybarra for the Ron Schafer Family.

I’ve included a vintage photograph of the race depicted in the mural!

Barney Oldfield driving the Peerless Green Dragon at the Lakeside Track, San Diego, California. April 7, 1907. (Public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)

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!

The cool Cruisin’ carhop mural at 101 Cafe!

If you love cool cars and nostalgia you’ll like this mural. It’s painted on the south side of 101 Cafe in Oceanside. The mural depicts a carhop outside wearing roller skates. She’s serving food to customers in a woodie, hot rod and several other classic cars.

101 Cafe dates back to 1928. The original twenty seat diner was built on US Highway 101, the main road back then from Los Angeles to San Diego.

The small restaurant has gone through many changes over the years. At one time it was a drive-in. It’s now a diner specializing in breakfast, and features 1950’s decor–including this great mural!

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 San Diego and Arizona Railway centennial!

People gather for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the San Diego and Arizona Railway at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo.
People gather for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the San Diego and Arizona Railway at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo.

Yesterday I attended an extraordinary event. The 100th Anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway was celebrated at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo!

Hundreds came out to the museum to enjoy special attractions, historical displays and old-time entertainment. Almost everybody rode an excursion train through the nearby countryside (you can see photos of the ride here) before gathering for lunch and a gold spike ceremony that reenacted much of the original ceremony a century ago.

Please enjoy the following photographs. Read the captions if you’d like to learn a little more about the history of the San Diego and Arizona Railway. (Click the images of signs and they’ll enlarge for easier reading.)

Many signs, plaques and historical markers can be found throughout the railroad museum's grounds.
Many signs, plaques and historical markers can be found throughout the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s grounds.

In 1916 rails reached Campo on the last transcontinental railway link built in the United States. The line was completed in 1919. The line was eventually purchased by MTS to gain right-of-way for the San Diego Trolley in the city of San Diego.
In 1916 rails reached Campo on the last transcontinental railway link built in the United States. The line was completed in 1919. The line was eventually purchased by MTS to gain right-of-way for the San Diego Trolley in the city of San Diego.

Visitors wait in line at the old Campo depot to pick up tickets for a train ride during the centennial event.
Visitors wait in line at the museum’s old Campo depot to pick up tickets for a train ride during the centennial event.

Heading around the old Campo depot toward the passenger platform.
Heading around the Campo depot toward the passenger platform.

Gazing out at a few of the many old rail cars owned by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.
Gazing out at a few of the many old rail cars owned by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum.

Visitors check out a caboose and more railroad cars to one side of the historic Campo train depot.
Visitors check out a caboose and more railroad cars to one side of the historic Campo train depot.

A simulated hobo camp and interesting sign attract the attention of one gentleman.
A simulated hobo camp and interesting sign attract the attention of one gentleman.

Hobo code used symbols made with chalk or coal to provide directions and warnings to other hobos.
Hobo code used symbols made with chalk or coal to provide directions and warnings to other hobos.

A recreated hobo encampment with campfire.
A recreated hobo encampment with campfire.

On December 14, 1906 John D. Spreckels, with his brother Adolph, announced his intent to construct a railroad from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.
On December 14, 1906 John D. Spreckels, with his brother Adolph, announced his intent to construct a railroad from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.

On October 2, 1916 the first passenger trains to Campo were initiated. On November 15, 1919 the Gold Spike Limited brought dignitaries to Carriso Gorge siding. The Impossible Railroad was completed!
On October 2, 1916 the first passenger trains to Campo were initiated. On November 15, 1919 the Gold Spike Limited brought dignitaries to Carriso Gorge siding. The Impossible Railroad was completed!

On February 5, 1950 the first diesel-electric locomotive pulled a freight train over the mountains, in place of a steam locomotive.
On February 5, 1950 the first diesel-electric locomotive pulled a freight train over the mountains, in place of a steam locomotive.

Checking out history at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, with its extensive collection of railroad rolling stock.
Checking out history at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, with its extensive collection of railroad rolling stock.

The Chula Vista Live Steamers were present for the event. They brought some of their 7.5 inch gauge operating steam trains.
The Chula Vista Live Steamers were present for the event. They brought some of their 7.5 inch gauge operating steam trains.

On top of one flatcar is a huge turntable that was used for turning railroad locomotives and cars.
On top of one flatcar is a huge turntable that was once used for turning railroad locomotives and cars.

A cool photo of a nearby Southern Pacific locomotive through the transported turntable.
A cool photo of a nearby Southern Pacific locomotive through the transported turntable.

A sign maps the route of the San Diego and Arizona Railway from San Diego through Mexico to El Centro.
A sign maps the route of the San Diego and Arizona Railway from San Diego through Mexico to El Centro. There are plans to use this line for freight trains once again. There is also talk that a tourist train might in the future run between Tecate, Mexico and Campo, California.

A sign describes two wooden passenger coaches built in the late 19th century. Coach 239 is one of the oldest surviving railroad passenger car artifacts in the West.
A sign describes two wooden passenger coaches built in the late 19th century. Coach 239 is one of the oldest surviving railroad passenger car artifacts in the West.

Visitors check out an enormous old freight car.
Visitors check out an enormous old freight car.

Here comes the San Diego & Arizona Eastern MW 1003 1931 Ford Model AA Rail Fire Engine.
Here comes the San Diego & Arizona Eastern MW 1003 1931 Ford Model AA Rail Fire Engine.

Visitors to the event check out a working 1902 American steam fire engine.
Visitors to the event check out a working 1902 American steam fire engine.

The American was built in 1902 by the American Fire Engine Company. It was restored with the help of the California State Firefighters' Association, and is now valued at over half a million dollars.
The American was built in 1902 by the American Fire Engine Company. It was restored with the help of the California State Firefighters’ Association, and is now valued at over half a million dollars!

People check out some of the railroad equipment on display on the museum grounds.
People check out some of the railroad equipment on display on the museum grounds.

Reading a sign by the railway Section House, where railroad workers were housed along the track.
Reading a sign by the railway Section House, where railroad workers were housed along the track.

Passengers disembark from the day's first excursion train and arrive at the outdoor venue for the gold spike event, near the museum's Display Building.
Passengers disembark from the day’s first excursion train and arrive at the outdoor venue for the gold spike event, near the museum’s Display Building.

A hay ride pulls up to the Display Building area.
A hay ride pulls up to the Display Building area.

Dr. Solar was entertaining kids with his magical Good-Time, Sunshine, Traveling Medicine Show.
Dr. Solar was entertaining kids with his magical Good-Time, Sunshine, Traveling Medicine Show.

Dr. Solar holds his applause meter.
Dr. Solar holds his applause meter.

Vintage auto enthusiasts brought their Model A and Model T Fords and Horseless Carriages.
Vintage auto enthusiasts brought their Model A and Model T Fords and Horseless Carriages.

Some cool period costumes!
Some fancy period costumes!

Vintage automobiles and vintage trains!
Vintage automobiles and vintage trains!

People were lined up for lunch near some of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum's many outdoor railroad cars.
People were lined up for lunch near some of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s many outdoor railroad cars.

Checking out a very cool old steam locomotive!
Checking out a very cool old steam locomotive!

A little switch engine of the San Diego and Arizona Railway.
A little switch engine of the San Diego and Arizona Railway.

The 100th Anniversary gold spike ceremony is about to begin. A train with red, white and blue bunting on the nearby track will be part of the historical reenactment.
The 100th Anniversary gold spike ceremony is about to begin. A train with red, white and blue bunting on the nearby track will be part of the historical reenactment.

Buffalo Soldiers representing nearby Camp Lockett are the event's color guard.
Buffalo Soldiers representing nearby Camp Lockett are the event’s color guard.

The gold spike ceremony begins.
The gold spike ceremony begins.

Standing for the National Anthem.
Standing for the National Anthem.

The master of ceremonies would introduce numerous present-day dignitaries, and many speeches would follow.
The master of ceremonies would introduce numerous present-day dignitaries, and many speeches would follow.

Native Sons of the Golden West dedicate a plaque celebrating the 100th anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway's completion.
Native Sons of the Golden West dedicate a plaque celebrating the 100th anniversary of the San Diego and Arizona Railway’s completion.

Descendants of John D. Spreckels are asked to stand by Diana Hyatt, President of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.
Descendants of John D. Spreckels are asked to stand by Diana Hyatt, President of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.

During the centennial ceremony, the original gold spike from 100 years ago was on display in a glass case nearby.
During the centennial ceremony, the original gold spike from 100 years ago was on display in a glass case nearby.

The original gold spike used to celebrate the completion of the San Diego and Arizona Railway in 1919.
The original gold spike used to celebrate the completion of the San Diego and Arizona Railway in 1919.

The San Diego City Guard Band plays the San Diego Progress March, written for the railway's completion 100 years ago and performed then by the 1919 version of the City Guard Band.
The San Diego City Guard Band plays the San Diego Progress March, written for the railway’s completion 100 years ago and performed then by the 1919 version of the City Guard Band.

The gold spike reenactment begins. Railroad workers arrive by handcar.
The gold spike reenactment begins. Railroad workers arrive by handcar.

The railroad workers carry the last section of track to be laid.
The railroad workers carry the last section of track to be laid.

Reenactment of workers completing a transcontinental railroad route.
Reenactment of workers completing a transcontinental railroad route.

History is remembered in Campo, California.
Railroad history comes to life in Campo, California.

Here come dignitaries from 1919, including San Diego Mayor Wilde and William Kettner.
Here come dignitaries from 1919, including San Diego Mayor Wilde and William Kettner.

Politicians and dignitaries from a century ago seem to return to life during the San Diego and Arizona Railway centennial.
Politicians and dignitaries from a century ago seem to return to life during the San Diego and Arizona Railway centennial. Each would read from the original speeches.

Photographers record history from one side of the gold spike reenactment.
Photographers record today’s history from one side of the gold spike reenactment.

John D. Spreckels arrives from the Gold Spike Limited train.
John D. Spreckels arrives from the Gold Spike Limited train.

The shiny gold spike is put into place.
The shiny gold spike is put into place.

John D. Spreckels, creator of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, hammers the final spike.
John D. Spreckels, creator of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, hammers the final spike.

Those attending the big centennial celebration assemble around the John D. Spreckels reenactor for a photograph.
Those attending the big centennial celebration assemble around the John D. Spreckels reenactor for a photograph.

History is made again on a sunny November day in 2019.
History is made again on a sunny November day in 2019.

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!