Photos of the colorful 2019 Mariachi Festival!

Ready for some super colorful photos?

In past years, the National City Chamber of Commerce’s amazing Annual International Mariachi Festival and Competition has been held in Pepper Park. You might remember my photographs in 2016 and 2017. For this year, 2019, the event was held in Chula Vista’s spacious Bayside Park!

I love the whirling colors of Mexican ballet folklórico dancing, and the soaring, unabashed joy of mariachi music, so today I had to go again!

I took photos of anything and everything!

Enjoy!

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Beauty and heart in Balboa Park.

A busy Sunday afternoon in Balboa Park. There is much living to do.
People walk through Balboa Park. There is much living to do.

Another fine Sunday afternoon in Balboa Park.

More beauty.

More sunshine.

More smiles.

More heart.

I could take a million photographs during walks through Balboa Park, because there is always something new.

Dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of Lebanon lawn program.
Dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of Lebanon lawn program.
Lebanese food is devoured on a sunny San Diego day.
Yummy authentic Lebanese food is devoured on a sunny San Diego day.
Amazing artwork displayed inside the Casa del Prado for the 43rd Annual Sumi-e Ten Japanese Brush Painting Exhibition.
Exquisite artwork displayed inside the Casa del Prado for the 43rd Annual Sumi-e Ten Japanese Brush Painting Exhibition.
Taking up a brush, learning how to craft elegant beauty.
Young people take up a brush, learning to transform ink into elegant beauty.
Autumn seasonal display in the Botanical Building features pumpkins arranged among plants and flowers.
The seasonal display in the Botanical Building features pumpkins arranged among plants and flowers.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego's Civic Organist, talks to the audience during the free Sunday concert at two o'clock.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego’s Civic Organist, talks to the audience during the free Sunday concert at two o’clock.
Visitors to Balboa Park peer down into the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden from the deck of the Tea Pavilion.
Peering down into the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden from the deck of the Tea Pavilion.
Light filters through tall bamboo at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Light filters through bamboo at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A colorful painting of Mt. Fuji by Yutaka Murakami in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A painting of Mt. Fuji by Yutaka Murakami. His fantastic artwork is now on display in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Steel drums add flavor to the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain.
Steel drums add flavor to the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain.
People eat, talk, relax at tables in the Plaza de Panama.
People eat, talk, find comfort at tables in the Plaza de Panama.
Perusing photographs by a local artist at Art in the Park.
Browsing photographs by a local artist at the outdoor Art in the Park.
Gazing down upon the dreamy Alcazar Garden.
People filter through the dreamy Alcazar Garden.
Feeling the holiday spirit by The Old Globe Christmas Tree in Copley Plaza.
Feeling the holiday spirit by The Old Globe Christmas Tree in Copley Plaza.
Enjoying peace and warm sunlight on the grassy West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Enjoying peace and warm sunlight on the grassy West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Shining blooms in a tree.
Shining blooms in a tree.
A noisy flock of crows was perched in the eucalyptus trees near the San Diego Chess Club and Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A noisy flock of crows was perched in the eucalyptus trees near the San Diego Chess Club and Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A drum circle in Marston Point, like the joyful, beating heart of Balboa Park.
A drum circle in Marston Point. Like the joyful, beating heart of Balboa Park.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

A world of peace, joy and hope.

My previous blog post seeped with terrible darkness. It showed us a human world that contains brutality, selfishness and despair.

But you know, if we chose, our world could look like this:

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I paused among the International Cottages to experience the peace, joy and hope that are possible when different people with different experiences simply love life and come unselfishly together.

Members of the House of Czech and Slovak Republics, with their smiles, dance and music set a wonderful example for us all to follow.

The choice is ours to make.

Dancers portray the homeless in San Diego.

Audience looks down with expectation as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.
Audience looks down as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.

This morning I watched the first dance of the 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center shopping mall. This unique annual event is a production of the San Diego Dance Theater.

Arriving early, I stood a couple of floors above the outdoor performance, and let my eyes wander about as I took in the entire scene.

The first dance portrayed the homeless. As the invisible curtain rose, dancers, who sat alone among their scant possessions, rose and converged in a dizzy, tragic performance.

Two male dancers tussled over a shopping cart, but that seemed to be the extent of their malice. The twisting dance showed troubled souls coming together, having a moment of hope and happiness, raising each other up before departing to go their separate ways.

After the first dance ended, I followed the mobile audience as they were led west down the nearby San Diego River Trail to the next outdoor stage. Chairs were set up short of the place where Highway 163 crosses Mission Valley.

I continued walking. What I saw thereafter wasn’t part of the program.

As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes on to the stage.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes onto the stage.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The dance portrays different people who are homeless.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The raw, disturbing dance portrays the lives of different people who are homeless.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is actually empty.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is empty.
Performers tussle over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
Performers tussle briefly over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
One dancer is raised up by the others.
One dancer is raised up by the others.

The dancers exit the stage by struggling up two sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
The dancers finally exit the stage, struggling up sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
This performance is over.
This performance is over.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie as the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie at the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dance stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dances stage.
This is as far down the path the audience would venture.
That is as far down the path the audience would venture.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather--in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather and take shelter–in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.

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!

Art, Color and Fiesta in Balboa Park!

The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.
The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

This evening I enjoyed a special event at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The House of Mexico presented Arte, Color y Fiesta, a cultural program rich with dance, music and patriotism celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

I successfully photographed the first few groups that provided entertainment before daylight waned. Many smiles shined into the evening.

To learn more about the House of Mexico, and perhaps become a member, or provide a donation as they prepare to build their new cottage among the existing House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, visit their website here!

The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico's cottage in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico’s new cottage in Balboa Park.
Los Chinelos De Morelos dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes Carnival-like costumes and masks.
Los Chinelos Unidos por Siempre de San Diego dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes fantastic Carnival-like costumes and masks.
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego perform during an event that celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain.
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego, a musical group composed of local high school students, perform during an event that celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park's Food Truck Friday.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego’s amazing Balboa Park.

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!

Dancing with joy at a big Greek Festival!

Early this afternoon I headed to St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church on Park Boulevard to enjoy their annual Greek Festival. Wow!

Tables and tents in the parking lot behind the church were overflowing with yummy Greek food, laughter, smiles and good cheer. Under the big tent the music, song and dancing was nonstop. Everyone clapped to lively traditional Greek music as people spontaneously jumped up and joined hands to dance. The spirit of “Opa!” was alive!

Kids in colorful Greek costume also danced. I believe the group I watched were called the Delphinian Dancers. They were showered with money during the performance, flowing from the large audience’s sheer joy and gratitude.

The festival continues through the weekend. If you like good times, you must definitely go!

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!

Dance on Sunday afternoons in Balboa Park!

On Sunday afternoons I seem to be spending more and more time in the grand Ballroom of the Balboa Park Club. Cushioned chairs line the walls, and I can sit peacefully as I read or write, listening to gentle, sprightly folk music, occasionally looking up at happy people dancing.

I don’t do much in the way of dancing–not with my feet. But I’m sure some of you do! And I bet some of you’d like to learn all sorts of different folk dances!

I spoke to a nice lady who is a member of one of Balboa Park’s dance clubs, and she told me they are looking to grow their membership. There’s an opportunity for ordinary people with varying levels of experience to learn folk dances from many different cultures. And each lesson costs only a couple bucks!

As you can see from one of my photos, kids and parents can also learn how to dance the third Sunday of every month, from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Sounds like fun!

Interested? Visit the International Dance Association of San Diego County website by clicking here!

If you can walk, you can dance!

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!