Photos of Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Old Town!

Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated this weekend in Old Town!

A good crowd was enjoying the colorful fiesta along San Diego Avenue when I arrived today in the early afternoon.

In addition to vendors selling food, crafts, assorted gifts and goodies, Mexican baile folklórico dancers and mariachis could be found along the street providing lively entertainment! And I spotted friendly local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creating some art by one sidewalk!

Lots of diners were at the various Mexican eateries that line San Diego Avenue, and I was sorely tempted to buy a fresh handmade tortilla!

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over, so everyone at the popular Old Town festival is asked to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing.

I took these photos to capture some of the fun!

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!

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Dancing children on a marble bench in La Jolla.

Perhaps you remember a blog post from years ago, when I shared photographs of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial in La Jolla, with its beautiful sculpture of a young girl dipping her finger into a pool of water. For photos of the sculpture, and to learn more, click here.

On Saturday I headed to La Jolla again to photograph playful images carved on the back of the nearby marble bench. I added contrast to my photos, so you can see the fine, fluid carvings of children making music and dancing, and the lines from Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Like the original sculpture, which was commissioned by the City of San Diego (and which went missing in 1996, to be replaced by a different sculpture) this curved marble bench was created by James Tank Porter in 1926. Inscribed in the front of the bench are the words: “Presented to the people of La Jolla by the people of San Diego, in honor and appreciation of Ellen Browning Scripps.”

The happy, carefree carvings make me wish I were a child again.

The world is so full of a number of things…
…I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

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 photo memories from March 2016.

We’ve stepped into a new month, so it’s time to look back at some of the things Cool San Diego Sights featured five years ago!

Back in March 2016 there was a whole lot going on in San Diego!

The following links will take you to photographs of various events and places of interest that you might enjoy seeing again. Unless, of course, you’re new to my blog. In that case, you’ll see these photos for the very first time!

Click the following links for lots of photographs…

Mountain men, a gunsmith and a blacksmith.

Irish pride on display at big St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Photos of International Mariachi Festival in National City.

History comes alive during tour of Spanish Village.

Photos of National City Depot museum and streetcars!

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.

Fantastic exterior of Tango Del Rey!

If you’ve ever driven south on Interstate 5 east of Pacific Beach, a short distance past the Balboa/Garnet Avenue offramp, you’ve probably glimpsed dancers on the side of a building. That building is the home of Tango Del Rey.

I walked around the building the other day and took photos of its fantastic exterior!

Decorating the building are sculpted Spanish dancers, bullfighters, Don Quixote…even medallions that commemorate San Diego’s settlement by the Spanish centuries ago that resemble artwork found in Balboa Park!

This web page concerning Tango Del Rey explains “this stunning venue was built by Don Francisco Ballardo in 1984 and was originally known as Tablao Flamenco. Don Ballardo was an eccentric supporter of the Arts who gave San Diego a landmark that is unique, not for just our city, but the whole country and maybe the world…”

In their photo gallery you can see photos of the large, eye-popping interior hall, which resembles a Moorish castle! It’s available for rental.

I’m afraid I can’t dance, but if I wanted to learn the tango, it appears their Tango Academy is the place to 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.

Painter creates vivid dreams in Balboa Park.

I was walking through the recently reopened Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park today when my feet carried me into Gallery 21, where exhibitions by local artists are in frequent rotation.

A painter was busy working on a canvas inside, and I quickly learned her name is Minnie Valero. Every wall in the gallery was covered with her work!

Minnie Valero was born and raised in Argentina, but has now lived in Southern California for over a decade. She is both artist and teacher–she has taught painting in southern France for fifteen years. She has also published several books. I could plainly see her unbounded passion for creativity.

According to Minnie’s website, she enjoys “working with watercolor, pastel, acrylic and oils, artfully blending classical and contemporary. I let the painting choose the medium. Portraits, landscapes, figures: my divergent interests in genre stem from a deep love of the interplay of light, shadow, mood and drama, always trying to convey harmony in the composition. I am a contemporary impressionist…”

I really like how she captures a moment’s mood, whether it’s a couple walking down a street, dancing the tango, or simply sitting on some sun-splashed grass by a river. Every emotion is authentic. And every emotion is vivid, rendered with much color and light.

Her paintings are so vivid, to me they seem almost like powerful dreams. Dreams captured with a brush, framed.

(Incidentally, she said she’d love to do some public art, such as painting murals. Anyone out there looking for a muralist?)

If you’d like to see some fine art by a painter who has won many awards, head over to Balboa Park’s Spanish Village and look for Gallery 21. Minnie Valero will be exhibiting her pieces, which are also available for purchase, through August 24, 2020.

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!

A festival of diverse cultures in Balboa Park!

The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.
The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.

Today many diverse cultures were celebrated in Balboa Park at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. That’s because this Sunday afternoon was the festive HPR Entertainment Sampler!

As I enjoyed San Diego sunshine on the lawn at the International Cottages, I watched different groups dance, sing and play music representing people around the world. Participants in this year’s “HPR Entertainment Sampler” were Queens from the House of Philippines and the House of Peru, plus entertainers belonging to the House of China, the House of Israel, the House of Chamorros and the House of Scotland.

Today’s entertainment was a small sample of the welcoming, colorful culture that anyone can enjoy during a visit to Balboa Park’s International Cottages, which are open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm!

These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.
Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.

The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.
The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.

The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!
The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!

A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.
A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.

Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.
Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.

The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with the assembled bagpipers.
The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with bagpipers.

Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park's unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park’s unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

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!

Folk dance and smiles at House of Ukraine!

Balboa Park’s House of Ukraine had their lawn program today at the International Cottages.

I don’t know a whole lot about the culture and history of Ukraine, but I could see one thing very clearly. The Ukrainian love for food, uplifting song, bright colorful costumes and folk dance shows an enduring, passionate love of life.

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!

Gentle folk dancing in the light.

The Balboa Park Club was the perfect place to write this afternoon: the soft folk music, gentle dancing across the spacious ballroom floor, graceful forms in splashes of sunlight, a comfortable, peaceful place.

I sat quietly on the other side of the ballroom and glanced up occasionally.

Flamenco dancing at San Diego Museum of Art!

This evening the San Diego Museum of Art held a free public event titled On the Steps At SDMA: The Golden Age Of Spain. The small outdoor festival, which was held in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, celebrated the museum’s current exhibition, which features fine art produced in the Spanish Empire from about 1600 to 1750.

Local artists had booths near the museum’s front steps, as did Balboa Park’s House of Spain, but my favorite part of the event was the fantastic flamenco dancing.

I lingered for a good while and enjoyed performances by Flamenco Sur (Carlos Hernandez and Students), Olé Flamenco, and Luna Flamenca Dance Company.

Each dancer possessed fire, intensity, passion.

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!

A new flag is raised for San Diego’s 250th Anniversary!

Kumeyaay bird songs are performed on stage during the San Diego 250 Civic Commemoration Ceremony.
Kumeyaay traditional Bird Songs are performed during the San Diego 250 Civic Commemoration Ceremony.

This evening a very special event was held in San Diego.

A crowd gathered near the top of Presidio Hill, in the parking lot just below the Serra Museum, to take part in the San Diego 250 Civic Commemoration Ceremony.

The historic event was staged in the same spot overlooking San Diego Bay where a Spanish mission and presidio were built in 1769. It is where San Diego began 250 years ago.

The first part of the San Diego 250 Civic Commemoration Ceremony featured cultural entertainment representing our remarkably diverse city. Several colorful dances were followed by speeches by politicians, dignitaries and diplomats, plus several leaders of the Native American Kumeyaay people–those who have lived in this region many thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. The audience experienced a Kumeyaay blessing and traditional Bird Songs. With sincere words past injustices and the suffering of the Kumeyaay were acknowledged, and optimism was expressed that our city’s future will be inclusive and bright.

For as long as I can remember, three flagpoles have stood at this place where the Spanish built their first outpost in California. Three banners have flown representing the history of San Diego: the flags of Spain, Mexico and the United States.

A fourth flagpole was recently installed. Today, at the close of the ceremony, a flag incorporating the different tribes of the Kumeyaay Nation was blessed with white sage smoke–to purify minds and hearts-and raised proudly, acknowledging and honoring San Diego’s first people.

I took some photographs of this important historical event.

Early arrivals for San Diego's big 250th Anniversary event claim a seat and await some cultural entertainment.
Early arrivals for San Diego’s big 250th Anniversary event claim a seat and await some cultural entertainment.

A variety of tents could be visited for food, drink and information about San Diego and its history.
A variety of tents could be visited for food, drink and information about San Diego and its history.

Kumeyaay tools and crafts are on display at one table.
Kumeyaay tools and crafts are on display at one table.

Map shows the different Kumeyaay villages of our region. The village of Cosoy was located near the base of Presidio Hill, where Old Town is located today.
Map shows the different Kumeyaay villages of our region. The village of Cosoy was located near the base of Presidio Hill, where Old Town is located today.

Prior to the ceremony, I walked a bit through Presidio Park. I took a photograph of VIPs arriving by Old Town Trolley at the Serra Museum.
Prior to the ceremony, I walked a bit through Presidio Park. I took a photograph of VIPs arriving by Old Town Trolley at the Serra Museum.

Performers lounge on grass behind the stage before the program begins.
Performers lounge on grass behind the stage before the program begins.

Someone takes a seat in the VIP section as Lion Dancers begin the multicultural entertainment.
Someone takes a seat in the VIP section as Lion Dancers begin the multicultural entertainment.

The ballet folklorico dancing that followed was enthusiastic, colorful and loudly applauded.
The ballet folklorico dancing that followed was enthusiastic, joyous and loudly applauded.

Dancers representing San Diego's Portuguese community take the stage.
Dancers representing San Diego’s Portuguese community take the stage.

A dance followed that represented San Diego's Vietnamese community.
A dance followed that represented San Diego’s Vietnamese community.

The VIPs take their seats as speeches are about to commence.
The VIPs take their seats as speeches are about to commence.

There are four flagpoles, but only three flags are flying.
There are four flagpoles, but only three flags are flying.

Mayor Faulconer addresses the crowd, urging unity and a positive future for all.
Mayor Faulconer addresses the crowd, urging unity and a positive future for all who live in San Diego.

A leader of the Kumeyaay Nation addresses those assembled.
A leader of the Kumeyaay Nation addresses those assembled.

Kumeyaay women sway in front of the stage as the men perform traditional bird songs.
Kumeyaay women sway in front of the stage as the men perform traditional Bird Songs.

A presentation is made to the San Diego History Center, which operates the Serra Museum and helped to arrange this special ceremony.
A presentation is made to the San Diego History Center, which operates the Junipero Serra Museum and helped to arrange this special ceremony.

Before the event concludes, everybody's attention turns to the flagpoles.
Before the event concludes, everyone’s attention is directed to the four flagpoles.

The Kumeyaay color guard stands ready.
The Kumeyaay color guard stands ready.

The flag of the Kumeyaay Nation is unfolded and blessed.
The flag of the Kumeyaay Nation is unfolded and blessed.

It is raised.
It is raised.

The Kumeyaay color guard poses proudly for a photograph.
The Kumeyaay color guard poses with pride for a photograph.

The flag of the Kumeyaay Nation now flies on historic Presidio Hill, in a place of honor.
The flag of the Kumeyaay Nation now flies on historic Presidio Hill, in a place of honor.

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!