Balboa Park performer on So You Think You Can Dance!

Did you know a long-time street performer in Balboa Park has appeared on the popular television show So You Think You Can Dance?

If you’ve visited San Diego’s Balboa Park in the past few years, it’s quite likely you’ve seen Kareem “Anointed” Ali and his talented friends wowing huge crowds with their athletic dance routines, acrobatic leaps, physical contortions and fun bits of humor. All concluded with an inspirational message.

Well, a number of years ago, while speaking to Anointed Ali, I learned he’d appeared as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. I then found a YouTube video of his routine here.

The judges were absolutely amazed. You will be too!

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!

The big House of Mexico fiesta in Balboa Park!

A big, wonderful fiesta was held today in San Diego’s Balboa Park!

The House of Mexico held their annual lawn program at the International Cottages, and, as usual, a good crowd came out!

There was much to do and see–and eat! (I must admit those churros were irresistible.)

Smiles shined all around as the festival filled with more and more people. Members from diverse communities around San Diego and Mexico were in attendance, and all were welcome.

Before the entertainment began at two o’clock, I wandered into the House of Mexico’s new cottage. Inside, displays included some very striking folk art, representing the legends and spirituality of the indigenous Huichol or Wixárika. I was told the exhibits in the cottage will be changed every few months.

After wandering away to listen to the Spreckels Organ concert for a while, I returned to the International Cottages to catch some of the House of Mexico’s cultural entertainment.

Enjoy these photos!

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!

Loving life at the 2022 Escondido Street Festival!

A huge crowd turned out today for the 2022 Escondido Street Festival along Grand Avenue!

After a two years’ absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event in downtown Escondido is back bigger and better than ever!

In addition to numerous vendors lining several blocks of Grand Avenue, I observed a fun art show, tons of food, and multiple stages featuring diverse entertainment. I listened to both rock and roll and mariachi music! I saw colorful baile folklórico dancing!

Folks working to improve the Escondido community were also out greeting people. That first photo is of a smile from Love Esco, an organization that cares for neighbors through simple acts of kindness and tangible means of love.

A also got a smile from the Escondido Education Foundation, but I declined their offer of a free Escondido poster. (I got enough stuff already!) The foundation is a community driven fundraising organization which provides funding for essential resources, and programs that empower teachers, inspire learning, and promote innovation and academic excellence in EUSD.

Also, thanks to the Helen’s Book Mark used bookstore for the amazing deal on half a dozen books! If you haven’t seen their cool mural on the back side of the store, click 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!

Culture, spirituality at UC San Diego Powwow.

The UC San Diego 2022 Powwow began late this morning with Bird Singers from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

As people slowly arrived at Marshall College Field, the singers sang ancient stories of the world’s creation. Traditional dancers and shaken gourd rattles moved in rhythm with the words.

In the San Diego sunshine, the culture and history of the Kumeyaay was alive, passing from heart to heart, from generation to generation.

One of the bird singers explained how culture and spirituality live together hand in hand. The singing takes much time and sacrifice. It is for the people. It brought him and others happiness, enriching life in many ways.

Bringing this beautiful music to our world helps many to thrive in this day and time.

I listened. Took some photos. I stretched my legs and ate some Kumeyaay fry bread with powdered sugar and drizzled honey. Yum!

Bird Singers were followed by Gourd Dancers.

After a little while, I felt the urge to move forward through this amazing world, and I walked again down my path.

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!

Colorful fun at Old Town’s Cinco de Mayo!

Big crowds are coming out this weekend for Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo! The popular festival is taking place on San Diego Avenue, between Conde Street and Twiggs Street.

I took loads of photos today!

Look at all the colorful fun! There’s a Lowrider Lane with cool bicycles, awesome motorcycles and a bunch of modified Volkswagens! There’s tons of yummy food, many smiling vendors, plus entertainment on a main stage.

I saw joyful, twirling Mexican baile folklórico dancing at the Cafe Coyote Stage, then grabbed two buttery, freshly made warm tortillas at Cafe Coyote across the street.

As I wandered about, I discovered representatives from the Mormon Battalion Historic Site in the small park behind the Whaley House. They were teaching people frontier dances, recalling their part of early San Diego history, and engaged in various fun activities.

During much of the day, at the top of each hour, there’s an exciting Lucha Libre match. I watched with dismay as the bad guys defeated the crowd-favorite good guys with a series of wicked body slams and wrestling moves, plus, of course, some villainous cheating. Fortunately, a rematch was promised, and I’m sure the good guys would be victorious later in the day!

Thanks to the STAR 94.1 radio guys for the prize!

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!

Fun at Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade!

What an outstanding community event! Today I experienced the 37th Annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade, and I gathered lots of photos!

I’d never before attended this annual event, and was blown away by the diversity, colorful entertainment, and all the smiles!

Numerous community organizations had set up canopies along on Linda Vista Road, and were greeting neighbors walking past. I was interested to learn there are plans to create a community garden. I saw many friendly people working to improve the lives of Linda Vista residents.

As I walked around, I smelled lots of yummy food. I saw kids super excited to go on rides in a fun zone. For several minutes I paused to watch and photograph a variety of cultural dances at the two festival stages.

Just before the parade began at 11 o’clock, I headed a bit north up Linda Vista Road to view the spectacle away from most of the crowd.

Personally, I liked the many roller skaters and their fun, musical routine. Linda Vista is home to Skateworld San Diego, and roller skating is a unique part of the community’s identity!

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!

San Diego’s elegant Maritime Museum Dancers!

The Maritime Museum Dancers performed today. They graced the dance floor of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic steam ferry Berkeley!

In addition to elegant, spritely dancing, the performers sang both together and individually, and one even read poetry!

These particular costumes and entertainments would have been enjoyed over two hundred years ago in England, in the early 19th century, around the time of the Regency Period.

The Maritime Museum Dancers often perform on another museum ship, HMS Surprise, the replica British Royal Navy ship used in the filming of Master and Commander.

Lucky museum visitors were enraptured by today’s performance, which included line dancing, a quadrille, and a duet. Near the conclusion of their performance, the group sang a gently stirring rendition of Greensleeves.

Alas my love you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously;
And I have loved you oh so long
Delighting in your company…

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!

Dragon and lion dances at Fashion Valley!

This evening, shoppers at the Fashion Valley mall enjoyed dragon and lion dances! It’s another fun celebration of the Lunar New Year in San Diego!

I swung by after work to experience the festive scene.

Members of the Southern Sea Dragon and Lion Dance Association performed near the center of the mall, then marched up and down past shops on the ground level, attracting a crowd of onlookers.

Drums and cymbals followed the energetic procession. Kids were delighted. Dollar bills were being placed into lion mouths to bring good luck in the new year. One small lion was aglow with colored lights!

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 holiday celebration in National City!

A big, wonderful holiday celebration is going on right now at Kimball Park in National City!

I walked through the community event just as it was getting underway this afternoon. I saw lots of families enjoying a Ferris Wheel, sledding on a snowy hill, dancing performances, arts and crafts, and even Santa himself!

If you read this blog in time, you might want to head on down to this free event!

A Kimball Holiday will go until 9 pm this evening, with the Christmas tree lighting at 6 pm!

A good crowd enjoys A Kimball Holiday as the festive event gets underway.
I walked by in the late morning and saw workers getting the Christmas tree ready. That’s how I learned about this event! After walking around San Diego’s South Bay for several hours, I returned in the afternoon…
Kids were enjoying the big Ferris Wheel.
How often do you see snow in sunny National City? Looks like fun!
Uh, oh. The Grinch showed up! That elf is trying to cheer the old grouch.
Lots of vendors had seasonal crafts and gifts for sale.
Santa waved! Hi Santa!
Malashock Dance was performing on the event stage in the early afternoon.
I love National City!

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!

Oceanside festival celebrates Filipino culture!

The 20th Annual Filipino Cultural Celebration was held today at Oceanside’s Civic Center Plaza. I arrived at the popular festival as it opened and stayed for a bit to enjoy all sorts of colorful entertainment!

After National Anthems were sung and presentations were made by community leaders, costumed dancing and singing commenced. The audience was wowed by an incredible fire dance by Dane Kaneshiro. You might’ve enjoyed his energetic performances at SeaWorld. As you’ll see in the upcoming photographs, he also custom paints longboards with great Polynesian inspired art. See his Kinjo Arts Instagram page here.

I also enjoyed chatting with a representative of the House of the Philippines about their new cottage in Balboa Park and watching kids perform tricks with tiny fingerboards on a model miniature skatepark. Of course, there was lots of food, vendors and educational opportunities, too!

The family-friendly festival was presented by the Filipino-American Cultural Organization and the Oceanside Public Library.

I was surprised to learn the second largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines resides right here in San Diego!

Another big Filipino festival is coming up next weekend in downtown San Diego at Waterfront Park. I plan to be there!

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!