Beautiful flowers in Old Town San Diego.

Cheerful flowers decorate the back of a wooden chair at Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town San Diego.
Cheerful flowers decorate the back of a wooden chair at Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town San Diego.

Look at all the beautiful flowers!

I found these while walking randomly around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park on Sunday!

Red geraniums flourish at the rear of San Diego House.
Red geraniums flourish at the rear of San Diego House.
A bee visits a prickly pear blossom near the Old Town Blacksmith Shop.
A bee visits a prickly pear blossom near the Old Town Blacksmith Shop.
Painted flowers decorate a panel in the entry to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
Bouquet of flowers painted on a panel in the entry to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
Visitors enjoy the lush, sunny courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Visitors enjoy the lush, sunny courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Beautiful pottery with floral designs can be found throughout Old Town.
Beautiful pottery with floral designs can be found throughout Old Town.
A red hibiscus behind the Fiesta de Reyes stage where visitors can watch colorful Mexican baile folklórico dancing.
A red hibiscus behind the Fiesta de Reyes stage where visitors can watch colorful Mexican baile folklórico dancing.
Flowery design on one bench by the Fiesta de Reyes stage.
Flowery design on one bench by the Fiesta de Reyes stage.
Wouldn't you like to sit on this bench?
Wouldn’t you like to sit on this bench?
Yellow blooms near the Racine and Laramie Tobacconist building.
Yellow blooms near the Racine and Laramie Tobacconist building.
Blue Buddha among flowers outside the entrance to Gum Saan.
Blue Buddha among flowers outside the entrance to Gum Saan.
Many flowers fill a garden that few visitors see behind La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
Many flowers fill a garden that few visitors see behind La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
A tree has beautiful blooms near the historic Mason Street Schoolhouse.
A tree has beautiful blooms near the historic Mason Street Schoolhouse.
Flowers adorn pottery at El Centro Artesano.
Flowers adorn pottery at El Centro Artesano.
A bag with floral design at Old Town Market.
A bag with floral design at Old Town Market.
There seem to be flowers everywhere you turn in Old Town San Diego!
There seem to be flowers everywhere you turn in Old Town San Diego!

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

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Photos of 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival!

People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the 2018 Japanese Friendship Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival.
People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival.

I took many photos today at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park. After the morning drizzle subsided, I headed up to the Japanese Friendship Garden where I knew there would be lots of fun, food and breathtaking natural beauty.

Not quite as many blooms as last year–this winter has been drier than average–but still an absolutely wonderful event. Thank you JFG!

Come along with me as we visit the festival…

The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, as wonderful as ever.
The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is just as wonderful as ever.
Outside the garden, steps from the entrance is a plaque. It's a replica of one in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Outside the garden, a short distance from the entrance is a plaque. It’s a replica of another plaque in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.

If you’d like to hear San Diego, The Beautiful, click here!

The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types--Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types–Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.

The transience of cherry blossoms inspired a very short story, which I titled A Short Bloom. To read it, click here!

This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
Vendors showcasing crafts and artwork at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Vendors showcasing crafts and gifts at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Some cool artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
Some cool Japanese artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival. Her mother makes these.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden's koi pond. Funny--by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game bookends the touching film.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden’s koi pond. Funny–by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game–more complicated than chess–begins and ends that inspiring film.
More art by the koi pond--some colorful handmade cards.
More art by the koi pond–some colorful handmade cards.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
A master gardener at work pruning on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A master gardener hard at work by the path. He’s pruning some greenery on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A beautiful stream runs past many clouds of pink.
Now we are in the Lower Garden. In mid-March, the beautiful stream runs past many delicate clouds of pink.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
People stand on the waterfall bridge looking toward the Inamori Pavilion.
People stand on the waterfall bridge gazing toward the Inamori Pavilion.
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where lots of food awaits!
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where I knew there would be a lot of food!
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
These guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These friendly guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These guys hold up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
These cool ladies held up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!

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.

Fun stage dioramas at Paper Theatre Festival!

An example of a elaborate paper toy theater, a source of family entertainment in the 19th century.
An example of an elaborate paper toy theater, a source of family entertainment in the 19th century.

Today, just for fun, I headed up to the Paper Theatre Festival, which is held every year at UC San Diego.

Upon entering the Seuss Room at the Geisel Library, I couldn’t help smiling. Scattered about the room was a large collection of Victorian stage dioramas, character cut-outs, books and ephemera from the 19th century when paper toy theatre was a popular family entertainment.

All of the colorful artwork exhibited at the festival is part of an immense paper theatre collection assembled over the course of eighteen years by Scott Paulson. I listened to him talk to visitors young and old about his collection, and tried to absorb a bit of this unique art form’s history. I learned how in that bygone age, families would construct these paper theaters from kits, then act out plays with the included scripts and paper doll actors. The entertaining hobby encouraged people to learn about the operation of a real theater, including set design and stage lighting effects.

Walking about the Seuss Room, I bent over to peer into many highly ornate 3-dimensional dioramas. Slots at intervals on the stages allow different paper backdrops–scenery sheets–to be inserted, as you can see from my photos. Paper characters, which are often mounted at the ends of sticks, can be moved about on a stage as a dramatic performance demands.

The festival is geared toward kids, who are encouraged to handle these fun paper playhouses, learn about their history and create their own small dramas. The event continues Sunday and Monday. Click here to learn more!

Paper Theater - It's the smallest show on Earth! Historical amusements are on display at the Paper Theatre Festival at the UC San Diego Library.
Paper Theater – It’s the smallest show on Earth! Historical amusements are on display at the Paper Theatre Festival at the UC San Diego Library.
Objects on display include books, posters and materials to craft paper theaters.
Objects on display include books, posters and materials to create paper theaters.
A mirthful dance of magical characters!
A mirthful dance of magical characters!
A variety of paper toy theaters and related items are on display at the festival.
A variety of paper toy theaters and related items are on display at the annual festival.
A scenery sheet depicting a London street to be used in a play of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
A scenery sheet depicting a London street to be used in a play of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Detail from one highly ornate paper stage.
Detail from one ornate paper stage.
These cut-out paper actors include dragons, knights and other fantastic characters.
These cut-out paper actors include dragons, knights and other fantastic characters.
Mr. Jackson's Elizabethan Theatre includes the characters and text for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Mr. Jackson’s Elizabethan Theatre includes the characters and text for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
An example of a French paper theatre kit.
An example of a French paper theatre kit.
The exhibition includes a crazy MOV-I-GRAFF card. The outline of the face is a fine chain. The face's shape can be altered with a jiggle.
The exhibition includes a crazy MOV-I-GRAFF card. The outline of the face is a fine chain. The face’s shape can be altered with a jiggle.
This stage features a troupe of ballet dancers!
This stage features a troupe of dancers!
Edward Gorey's Dracula, a toy theatre!
Edward Gorey’s Dracula. Classic horror and toy theatre!
Teatro de Mexico. A folk art toy theater.
Teatro de Mexico. A folk art toy theater.
Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop. Hansel and Gretel. A model to cut out and make.
Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop. Hansel and Gretel. A model to cut out and make.
A fun Hansel and Gretel scene made of paper!
A fun, very colorful Hansel and Gretel scene made of paper!

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 fun Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park!

A demonstration of martial arts by members of the San Diego Wushu Center during the 2018 Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park.
A demonstration of martial arts by members of the San Diego Wushu Center during the 2018 Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park.

Today I experienced two fantastic cultural events in Balboa Park. The first was the Chinese New Year Festival hosted by the House of China at the International Cottages.

2018 is the Year of the Dog, and a huge crowd turned out to enjoy Chinese food, entertainment and a whole lot of good fun. I stayed for a while and watched talented performers dance, demonstrate Kung fu, and fling bright Yo-Yos into the sunny San Diego sky to the delight of all! It was great!

The 2018 Chinese New Year Festival continues Sunday, from 11 am to 5 pm. You really should go!

Just in case you can’t make it, I took some colorful photos…

Tents in the lawn area of the International Cottages featured food, unique crafts and many fascinating aspects of Chinese culture.
Tents in the lawn area of the International Cottages feature food, unique crafts and many fascinating aspects of Chinese culture.
Cheerful artwork and entertainment were plentiful at the 2018 Chinese New Year Festival, hosted by the House of China in Balboa Park.
Cheerful artwork and entertainment are plentiful at the 2018 Chinese New Year Festival, hosted by the House of China in Balboa Park.
Young students working with the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University dance during the program.
Young students working with the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University dance during the program.
Some traditional Chinese food being served included egg rolls, dumplings and bao--steamed buns with several different tasty fillings.
Some traditional Chinese food being served included egg rolls, dumplings and bao–steamed buns with several different tasty fillings.
I spotted one table with clever cards that open to colorful pop-up bouquets.
I spotted one table with clever cards that open to colorful pop-up bouquets.
Anyone could check the year of their birth against this Chinese horoscope. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
Anyone could check the year of their birth against this Chinese horoscope. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
These cool kids of the Riverview International Academy Yo-Yo Team wowed the crowd with their amazing skill.
These cool kids of the Riverview International Academy Yo-Yo Team wowed the crowd with their amazing skill.
I discovered a fascinating book about the history of the Chinese in San Diego. It's title is In Search of Gold Mountain.
I discovered a fascinating book about the history of the Chinese in San Diego. It’s title is In Search of Gold Mountain.
Some beautiful Chinese brush art and ink drawings were being displayed by friendly local artists.
Some beautiful Chinese brush art and ink drawings were being displayed by friendly local artists.
Energetic martial artists demonstrated various forms of Kung fu. Many routines seemed like precise athletic dances.
Energetic martial artists demonstrated various forms of Kung fu. Many routines seemed like precise athletic dances.
A graceful performance by members of the UCSD Chinese Dance Association.
A graceful performance by members of the UCSD Chinese Dance Association.
Many smiles and delightful surprises awaited visitors to Balboa Park during the 2018 Chinese New Year Festival.
Many smiles and delightful surprises await visitors to Balboa Park during the 2018 Chinese New Year Festival.

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!

Colorful photos of the Old Town Fall Festival!

A covered wagon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is decorated with fall colors in October.
A covered wagon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is decorated with autumn colors.

After walking a bit downtown, I took the trolley up to Old Town to enjoy the colorful Fall Festival!

I never tire of the wonderful events that can be found almost every weekend at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Kids at the Old Town Fall Festival learn to make art with colored beans!
Kids at the Old Town Fall Festival learn to make art with colored beans!
Later in the day folks at this table would demonstrate how to make applesauce.
Later in the day folks at this table would demonstrate how to make applesauce.
Making environmentally friendly bird feeders using corn cobs, peanut butter and seeds.
Making environmentally friendly bird feeders using corn cobs, peanut butter and seeds.
Folks young and old were trying their hand at making corn husk dolls.
Folks young and old were trying their hand at making corn husk dolls.
Lady with old-fashioned parasol walks through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's Plaza de las Armas.
Lady with old-fashioned parasol walks through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s central Plaza de las Armas.
Colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest frame the Welcome in an Old Town shop window.
Colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest frame the Welcome in an Old Town shop window.
A smiling señorita walks near some pumpkins.
A smiling señorita walks near some pumpkins.
An elaborate Día de los Muertos decoration standing beside the Fiesta de Reyes stage is bright with autumn colors.
An elaborate Día de los Muertos decoration standing beside the Fiesta de Reyes stage is bright with fall colors.
A flower-filled wheelbarrow in front of Seeley Stable.
A flower-filled wheelbarrow in front of Seeley Stable.
Ceramic pumpkins line shelves at an outdoor Old Town marketplace.
Ceramic pumpkins line shelves at an outdoor Old Town marketplace.
Ladies work on a quilt inside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center.
Ladies work on a quilt inside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center.
Kid learns how to plant seeds in front of the Wells Fargo History Museum.
Kid learns how to plant seeds in front of the Wells Fargo History Museum.
A Wells Fargo chest full of golden treasure!
A Wells Fargo chest full of golden treasure!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Festive culture and tradition at Fiestas Patrias!

Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.
Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.

This morning I missed a bus to Ocean Beach at the Old Town Transit Center, so to pass the time I walked the short distance over to the State Park to see if anything was going on. And I discovered that Fiestas Patrias was being celebrated today!

I lingered for a few minutes and took some photos, headed over to OB (as you will see), then returned to Old Town a couple hours later to really soak in the event. Fiestas Patrias is a yearly celebration of Mexican independence from Spain in 1821. San Diego, a small town founded near a Spanish presidio in Alta California, thereafter became a part of Mexico until 1848.

Many diverse traditions have intermingled during San Diego’s history to make our city what it is today. The rich and colorful culture of Mexico has remained an essential part of life in San Diego!

A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego.
A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza's main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza’s main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Quick peek at the SoCal Etsy Guild Market!

The SoCal Etsy Guild Market took place today in Horton Plaza Park.
The SoCal Etsy Guild Market took place today in Horton Plaza Park.

My walk downtown today took me through Horton Plaza Park, where I came upon a very cool event.

The SoCal Etsy Guild Market had drawn a nice crowd of curious shoppers! Lots of handmade, original goodies were for sale by all sorts of crafts makers and artists…

I took a few photos as I wandered through…

Lots of cool crafts and artwork was for sale!
Lots of cool crafts and artwork was for sale!
Shoppers wore big smiles.
Shoppers wore big smiles.
Izzy's Sounds is on Etsy. He makes one-of-a-kind bluetooth speakers out of vintage radios and other interesting objects.
Izzy’s Sounds is on Etsy. He makes one-of-a-kind bluetooth speakers out of vintage radios and other interesting objects.
An artist advises us to live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air. Sounds wise to me!
An artist advises us to live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air. Sounds wise to me!
It appears a good crowd turned out for SoCal Etsy Guild Market in downtown San Diego!
It appears a good crowd turned out for SoCal Etsy Guild Market in downtown San Diego!

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!