Festive fun at House of Czech and Slovak Republics!

Accordion music, costumes, dance and tasty treats can be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park this weekend at the International Cottages. The House of Czech and Slovak Republics is presenting their festive lawn program!

I swung by to enjoy a bit of culture and ended up gobbling some yummy strudel. I also got a few colorful photos!

I stepped into the House of Czech and Slovak Republics cottage and discovered a beautiful painting on one wall of Prague. And artwork depicting folk costume and dance!

Then a smile and book titled FAVORITE RECIPES Czech & Slovak Cottage was promptly followed by sweet temptation!

The lawn program will be held tomorrow, Sunday, as well! The public is invited!

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!

Historic opening of new cottages in Balboa Park!

History was made today in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park. Nine beautiful new International Cottages finally opened to the public!

A ribbon cutting ceremony late in the morning was followed by a procession of flags and youthful House of Pacific Relations Queens. Inspirational and congratulatory speeches were then made, including words from San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

After various dignitaries and consulate representatives spoke, a happy crowd watched cultural performances by each of the nations with new cottages!

Those nations or cultural units are: Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

Everyone received great applause. Smiles like sunshine radiated from every face. The audience and participants formed one big very colorful family. History was made.

If only this troubled world could take notice.

I took photographs before, during, and after the ceremony…

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!

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!

Friday evening drama in Balboa Park!

I encountered several dramatic scenes during my walk through Balboa Park this Friday evening!

First, as I passed the Old Globe Theatre complex, I noticed some sort of live event had begun in the plaza. I had stumbled upon the AXIS Free Performing Arts Series titled WORD UP!

As I understand it, the Old Globe’s summer AXIS program intends to engage the community, to make theatre matter to more people. The theme this evening was storytelling and community.

After a very brief, vague talk about the importance of oral tradition, the audience and online participants were asked an odd string of personal questions. Many shared how they feel about aspects of their lives and the people in their lives. I realize people communicating thoughts and feelings eye to eye in this age of isolated people staring at phones is a good thing. But the small audience appeared to be a clique of regulars.

I saw very few visitors in the park taking seats during my time in the audience. I’ll bet if there had been an exciting performance of live theatre in the plaza, many more casual passersby would have been drawn in and become engaged.

Next, as I wandered into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was thrilled to see an enthusiastic group of young dancers rehearsing for the big Reopening Celebration Concert tomorrow evening at 5:30 pm!

I asked a member of the Spreckels Organ Society who was helping with the rehearsal who this group was on stage, and he didn’t know.

Finally, look what I spied in one arm of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion’s beautiful colonnade!

An absolutely fantastic photo shoot by Living World Entertainment!

Check out their website 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!

Comic-Con week cosplay parade in the Gaslamp!

In 2021 lovers of San Diego Comic-Con are enjoying an online experience of the international pop culture convention at home. But that hasn’t stopped fans in San Diego from having fun in the Gaslamp Quarter!

This afternoon I took a bunch of photographs of cosplay at the San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine by the Tin Fish Restaurant.

At one o’clock the cosplayers started up Fifth Avenue in a big parade! Diners along the street and those watching from the sidewalk were in for a treat!

I followed the parade as superheroes and supervillains passed a simulated torch from one to the other. The costumed characters finally gathered at the parade’s end for an amazing group photo!

Check it out!

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!

Big gathering of Azteca dancers in Chicano Park!

A group of about a hundred Danza Azteca-Chichimeca dancers filled Chicano Park today with life and color and tradition and joy!

To the rhythmic beat of drums, strummed lutes and rattled gourds, families danced within and around Chicano Park’s central gazebo, or Kiosko.

I don’t know a whole lot about the Mexican Concheros ceremony and dance, other than it’s a fusion of pre-Hispanic and Christian symbols and rituals. You can learn more here.

Additional elements in today’s dance I believe come from San Diego’s local Native American Kumeyaay culture–including the blessing of participants with white sage smoke, which purifies minds and hearts. Please write a comment if I need correction.

I do know that the energy of the performers and the spirit that emanated from their dance was uplifting. Even as I kept a respectful distance, the infectious beat made me want to dance, too! Perhaps because a human heartbeat is a thing we all have in common.

I hope these photos do justice to what those watching and listening 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!

4th of July celebrated in Balboa Park!

This afternoon at 2 pm there was a special celebration of the 4th of July in Balboa Park. A small crowd was drawn to the International Cottages where the House of the United States of America hosted the event.

Several members of the Sons of the American Revolution were present, and they had a table where I learned about the organization. They’re all about teaching a very important aspect of American history: its founding.

To join SAR you must be a verified descendant of someone who fought in the Revolutionary War. I was told that finding all that necessary documentation is an eye-opener. One quickly realizes that names recorded centuries ago were actual living breathing human beings, no different than you and me! (To see a list of the San Diego Chapter’s ancestors, click here!)

Members of SAR today work with schools and educators to teach American history. You can image how kids would be excited to talk to an actual honest-to-goodness descendant of our nation’s founders! If you’d like to learn more about and perhaps get in touch with these folks, click here!

Before the Independence Day ceremony got started, I got a hot dog with onions, mustard and ketchup and headed into the House of the USA cottage where I took some of the following photos.

Then it was time for the Sons of the American Revolution color guard to present the flag.

After the National Anthem was sung, a good old American rock and roll band entertained everyone!

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!

Cosplay banners for Causeplayer Community Shrine!

Cosplay banners have been hung all over the Gaslamp Quarter in anticipation of the upcoming San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine. The event will be held July 23-25!

What has been referred to as the Comic-Con Shrine has recently been given a new name. The San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine (in Gaslamp Square near the Tin Fish restaurant across from the Convention Center) will be the site of a blood drive by the San Diego Blood Bank, not to mention fan chalk art, dance parties and lots of cosplay activity!

These banners up and down Fifth Avenue feature members of the Science Fiction Coalition and various other cosplay groups from around San Diego.

Look at all these very cool banners!

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!

Unexpected music, folk dance in Balboa Park!

The House of Austria, along with the House of Germany, put on a cultural show at the International Cottages in Balboa Park this afternoon!

After the Spreckels Organ concert ended, I hurried over to the lawn between the International Cottages to see if anything was going on. And I found myself enjoying the last few minutes of a small festival!

Four costumed dancers and six accordion players were entertaining the gathered audience with folk music and dance.

The lively dancers belong to the Performing Folk Dancers of Balboa Park. Look for their information on this page.

The half dozen musicians are members of the Accordion Lover’s Society International! Learn more about them here!

The cottages have been closed to the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s my understanding that all of the cottages will fully open next weekend for the Fourth of July celebration.

Hooray!

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!

Comic-Con Shrine returning for 2021!

The San Diego Comic-Con Shrine is returning for 2021!

Just like last year, when Comic-Con was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a fun, free, semi-spontaneous, fan-centric celebration of the popular arts will be taking place during Comic-Con week just outside the Tin Fish restaurant. You know, in Gaslamp Square, the public plaza across from the convention center, next to the trolley station. There will be cosplay, chalk art, a blood drive . . . even nightly dance parties!

I saw a couple of banners at the Tin Fish this morning and took the next photo. It looks like Dude Vader and the Science Fiction Coalition will once again be a big part of the Shrine experience.

While San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled again for health reasons in 2021, a Special Edition of Comic-Con will be coming to the convention center this November.

If you live in San Diego, make sure to check out the Comic-Con Shrine this summer from July 23-25. I see they have a website here!

Meanwhile, enjoy a sample of the photographs that I took last year at and near the Shrine…

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!