Friday food trucks and fun in Balboa Park!

People stroll down El Prado, checking out a variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.
People stroll down El Prado, checking out a huge variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.

If you haven’t been to Food Truck Friday in Balboa Park, you’re missing out!

Not only is there all sorts of yummy food, but there is grass to picnic on and live music and juggling and hula hoops and checkers and crafts for the kids and colorful flowers and splashing fountains and amazing architecture and smiles and . . . I could go on and on! And the museums are open late, too!

Balboa Park’s special magic adds spice to an already tasty meal!

Balboa Park Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama.
Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama and along the length of El Prado.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a fun and festive dinner.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a festive family-friendly dinner.
Kenny Shelton the friendly juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
Kenny Shelton the awesome juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the sunlit House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where kids could paint pictures of trains!
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where young kids could apply dots of paint to fun trains!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own fun table where kids could be creative!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own cool table where kids could be creative!
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate...
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate…
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego's always amazing Balboa Park.
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park.

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Balboa Park’s magic reveals life and wonder.

The facade of the Casa del Prado is just one of many wonders in Balboa Park.
The facade of the Casa del Prado is just one of many wonders in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is one of the most magical places in the world. Spells are cast, revealing life and wonder.

Please enjoy a few photos.

Another beautiful day in the park. The California Tower rises in the distance.
Another magical day in the park. The California Tower rises in the distance.
Spirits are lifted by the Woman of Tehuantepec in the courtyard of the House of Hospitality.
Spirits are lifted by the Woman of Tehuantepec in the courtyard of the House of Hospitality.
Ranger Kim relates the history of Balboa Park to a tour group. They stand by the original Administration Building, which was the first building constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Ranger Kim relates the history of Balboa Park to a tour group. They stand by the original Administration Building, which was the first building erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Ranger Kim talks about the historic Botanical Building and its rich collection of beautiful flowers and plants.
Ranger Kim talks about the historic Botanical Building and its rich collection of beautiful flowers and plants.
A wicker Electriquette follows walkers in the park.
A wicker Electriquette slowly moves through the wonderful park.
Daisy Girl Scouts plant new flowers by the reflecting pool.
Daisy Girl Scouts plant living flowers by the reflecting pool.
Photo from the Alcazar Garden of the House of Charm's tower.
Photo from the Alcazar Garden of the House of Charm’s tower.
Learning to tap dance at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Learning to tap dance at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Three friends together at Nate's Point Dog Park.
Three life friends together at Nate’s Point Dog Park.
A short but happy excursion on the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
A short but magical excursion on the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
A view across El Prado of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A view across El Prado of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
The splashing Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa attracts young and old.
The splashing Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa attracts young and old.
Gazing from a balcony of the House of Hospitality down at the Plaza de Panama and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Gazing from a balcony of the House of Hospitality down at the life-filled Plaza de Panama and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Bicycles along El Prado.
Bicycles and sunshine along El Prado.
Big Slim plays guitar by the Casa del Prado.
Big Slim plays guitar by the Casa del Prado.
A musician strums in Spanish Village.
A musician strums in Spanish Village.
A magic trick produces many smiles.
A magic trick produces many smiles.

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Colorful photos from 2017 Fiesta Botanica!

The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and botanical information.
The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and useful botanical information.

Of course I had to go to Fiesta Botanica! I love flowers, plants, sunshine and Balboa Park!

What used to be called Balboa Park’s Garden Party is now Fiesta Botanica, in keeping with the surrounding Spanish-style architecture. And who would want to miss a colorful fiesta!

I’m sorry to say I missed the floral wagon parade this year, because I was privileged to receive a very special morning tour at the San Diego Museum of Art. I’ll probably blog about that tomorrow.

Anyway, I just happily wandered about Fiesta Botanica after leaving the museum and did my best to learn a little about gardening and the miraculous world of nature. There was quite a lot to see!

As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant now-fenced Moreton Bay Fig near the Natural History Museum. A platform would allow visitors to closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant, now-fenced-off Moreton Bay Fig, which stands near the Natural History Museum. A raised platform would allow visitors to more closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of human feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park's landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
Artist Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park’s landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado.
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado. I believe this one was sponsored by Save Starlight.
In Spanish Village I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!
In Spanish Village, I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!

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Images of Saint Junipero Serra in San Diego.

Molded plaster figure of newly canonized Saint Junipero Serra at top of the California Building’s facade in Balboa Park.
Molded plaster figure of Saint Junipero Serra at top of the California Building’s facade in Balboa Park.  The Museum of Man occupies this landmark building.  The ornate facade contains many sculpted historical figures and busts created by the Piccirilli brothers, famous marble carvers who immigrated from Italy in 1888.

Today, during Pope Francis’ historic first visit to the United States, Junipero Serra was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Father Serra was declared a saint by the Holy See at a ceremony conducted by Pope Francis at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Saint Junipero Serra played a large role in San Diego’s early history. The Franciscan friar established the first nine of 21 Roman Catholic Spanish missions in what today is California.  The very first of those nine, founded on July 16, 1769, was located in San Diego. The primary purpose of the missions was to convert the native peoples to Christianity; another purpose was to solidify a claim over this valuable corner of the New World for Spain.

The Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá is located in Mission Valley and remains to this day an active church. It’s popularity as a destination for tourists and the faithful will likely increase with the canonization of Serra.

Because of Saint Junipero Serra’s historical importance in San Diego, many images of him are found throughout our city. Some of the most prominent and well known representations can be seen in Balboa Park. The park’s Spanish Colonial Revival Style buildings created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition include lavish ornamentation, with many illustrations of people and scenes important to San Diego history.

The following notable bits of art in Balboa Park depict Saint Junipero Serra during his time in San Diego.

Ornamental art on Balboa Park's Casa del Prado depicts Saint Junipero Serra holding a cross among Spanish soldiers and native peoples in what today is California.
Ornamental art on Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado shows Saint Junipero Serra holding a cross among Spanish soldiers and native peoples in what today is California.  In 1769, San Diego was part of Alta California in the Province of Las Californias in New Spain.
More artwork seen from Balboa Park's historic El Prado shows Franciscan friar on a horse near the Roman Catholic Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which was founded in 1769.
More artwork seen on Balboa Park’s historic El Prado shows Franciscan friar on a horse near the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, which was built near the San Diego River, several miles inland from San Diego Bay.
Junipero Serra Memorial, created 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building, of the Panama-California Exposition. Now located in the Sculpture Court.
Junipero Serra Memorial, created in 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building, of the Panama-California Exposition. This elegant work of art was preserved and is now located in the Casa del Prado’s Sculpture Court.

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Fun photos of Make Music Day San Diego!

Young kids learn how to become cool DJs at Make Music Day San Diego.
Young kids learn how to become cool DJs at Make Music Day San Diego.

One more blog post this weekend about Balboa Park! Today was Make Music Day San Diego, which was held throughout our huge urban park! Music filled the air everywhere I walked!

2015 is the first year San Diego has taken part in this unique worldwide event. Countless people in more than 700 cities participated! The public was encouraged to bring instruments to Balboa Park and make music, and many instruments were given away, including 100 harmonicas. A big parade of harmonica players was one part of the event I unfortunately missed, as well as a Mass Appeal guitar jam. There was just not enough time, and too much to see in Balboa Park–and to hear!

Anyway, here are some fun pics that provide a bit of the atmosphere. This blog, alas, doesn’t feature sound.

San Diego's first ever Make Music Day was held in Balboa Park this Sunday.
San Diego’s first ever Make Music Day was held in Balboa Park this Sunday.
Friends of Balboa Park helped to organize the musical event, which encourages public participation.
Friends of Balboa Park helped to organize the musical event, which encourages public participation.
Some lucky person won this guitar today!
Some lucky person won this guitar!
The public, street musicians and special Make Music Day event performers all contributed to a giant concert throughout Balboa Park.
The public, street musicians and special Make Music Day event performers all contributed to a giant concert throughout Balboa Park.
Numerous musicians were up and down El Prado, playing their hearts out.
Numerous musicians were up and down El Prado, playing their hearts out.
This gent was playing a cool sax in the shade.
This gent was playing a cool sax in the shade.
Live Music Today included Flamenco in Spanish Village, which I already blogged about!
Live Music Today included Flamenco in Spanish Village, which I already blogged about!
The avant-garde band Swarmius was setting up in the Zoro Garden among butterflies. Their half electronic, half instrumental music borrows from every conceivable musical style.
The avant-garde band Swarmius was setting up in the Zoro Garden among butterflies. Their half electronic, half instrumental music borrows from every conceivable musical style.
Radio Pulso del Barrio, an internet station out of Barrio Logan, was teaching one and all how to be a DJ for the day!
Radio Pulso del Barrio, an internet station out of Barrio Logan, was teaching one and all how to be a DJ for the day!
Music was heard no matter where you walked!
Music was heard no matter where you walked!
Poster by Spreckels Organ Pavilion lists summer musical performances for Twilight in the Park, Centennial Celebration 1915-2015. Click to enlarge.
Poster by Spreckels Organ Pavilion lists summer musical performances for Twilight in the Park, Centennial Celebration 1915-2015. (Click to enlarge.)
Sweden had their lawn program at the International Cottages today.
By the way, Sweden had their lawn program at the International Cottages today.
I missed the maypole dance, but got a photo of the flower-bedecked pole!
I missed the festive maypole dance, but got a photo of the flower-bedecked pole!
Beautiful singing was heard from the stage at the International Cottages, as the House of Sweden also provided musical entertainment during Make Music Day!
Beautiful singing was heard from the stage at the International Cottages, as the House of Sweden also provided musical entertainment during Make Music Day!

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Pics of Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park!

Child gives potted plant to spectator during floral wagon parade in Balboa Park.
Child gives potted plant to spectator during floral wagon parade in Balboa Park.

It was a memorable day in Balboa Park!

To celebrate its centennial, San Diego’s historic Balboa Park is throwing a number of special events this year. Today our beautiful park was the scene of the Garden Party of the Century. And what a party it was!

As the title suggests, the emphasis was on gardening and the many incredible gardens of our world-class urban park. Spring flowers filled every corner, and lots of people came out to enjoy excellent exhibits. A unique parade also took place, as you’ll see in the following photographs.

The event’s main ceremony involved Marines from San Diego’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot, which is perhaps a mile (or two) from the park. The Marines played an instrumental role during the early days of Balboa Park, which was created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The mere presence of a Marine camp inside the large park back then eventually helped to preserve many of the wonderful old Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings visitors marvel at today.

Many tents with horticulture exhibits were around Balboa Park for the Garden Party of the Century. Some can be seen next to the Botanical Building.
Many tents with horticulture exhibits were around Balboa Park for the Garden Party of the Century. Some can be seen next to the Botanical Building.
These friendly folks explained that dahlia blooms can be as large as fourteen inches!
These friendly folks explained that dahlia blooms can be as large as fourteen inches!
Displays concerning gardening were front and center during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Displays concerning gardening were front and center during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
These master gardeners showed me what a ladybird larva looks like! (It's the critter on the right.)
These master gardeners showed me what a ladybird larva looks like! (It’s the critter on the right.)
There were lots of flower arrangements and botany-themed art throughout the park!
There were lots of flower arrangements and botany-themed art throughout the park!
It's still early in the morning, so some exhibitors are still setting up near the reflecting pool.
It’s still early in the morning, so some exhibitors are still setting up near the reflecting pool.
This super cool lady talked to me about the work of the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department.
This super cool lady talked to me about the work of the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department.
Smiling lady from the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Smiling lady from the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Lots of plants were for sale in the park, including on the Casa del Prado patio.
Lots of plants were for sale in the park, including on the Casa del Prado patio.
Ducks and baby ducklings were swimming about the lily pads in the Balboa Park reflecting pool!
Ducks and baby ducklings were swimming about the lily pads in the Balboa Park reflecting pool!
Sign shows the way to the Rose Garden across Park Boulevard.
Sign shows the way to the Rose Garden across Park Boulevard.
One example of Balboa Park's Adopt-A-Plot volunteer gardening program--this plot is in Sefton Plaza.
One example of Balboa Park’s Adopt-A-Plot volunteer gardening program. This plot is in Sefton Plaza.
A photo I took this morning of beautiful flower beds in the Alcazar Garden.
A photo I took this morning of beautiful flower beds in the Alcazar Garden.
Another exhibitor near the Moreton Bay Fig Tree and Natural History Museum has a cool trash can painted with flowers and a bee.
Another exhibitor near the huge Moreton Bay Fig Tree and Natural History Museum has a cool trash can painted with flowers and a bee.
The Navy was showcasing its environmental programs.
The Navy was showcasing its environmental programs.
Marines cross street in front of the Casa del Prado Theatre building.
Marines cross street in front of the Casa del Prado Theatre building.
The floral wagon parade staged in a parking lot by the Balboa Park carousel.
The floral wagon parade was staged in a parking lot by the Balboa Park carousel.
Musicians stand ready for the beginning of the big parade through Balboa Park.
Musicians stand ready for the beginning of the big parade through Balboa Park.
San Diego's own Fern Street Circus has gathered for the parade holding colorful banners.
San Diego’s own Fern Street Circus has gathered for the parade holding colorful banners.
Other performers from the Fern Street Circus wait a bit further down the parade route for the spectacle to begin.
Other performers from the Fern Street Circus wait a bit further down the parade route for the spectacle to begin.
The Garden Party of the Century Parade is underway and turning onto El Prado!
The Garden Party of the Century Parade is underway and turning onto El Prado!
Kids, families, wagons and flowers. An overcast day after our recent stormy weather.
Kids, families, wagons and flowers. An overcast day after our recent stormy weather.
Here come drummers and a flag down the festive parade route!
Here come drummers and a flag down the festive parade route!
Look at the boldly colored dresses and fantastic costumes!
Look at the boldly colored dresses and fantastic costumes!
Here come some lush, wonderful floral wagons.
Here come some lush, wonderful floral wagons.
Garden Party of the Century parade turns the corner and heads down El Prado toward Plaza de Panama.
Garden Party of the Century parade turns the corner and heads down El Prado toward Plaza de Panama.
Flower-laden wagons pass in front of ornate Casa del Prado.
Flower-laden wagons pass in front of ornate Casa del Prado facade.
A bee is followed by a beekeeper!
A bee is followed by a beekeeper!
The parade approaches the reflecting pool as it passes booths lining El Prado.
The parade approaches the reflecting pool as it passes booths that line El Prado.
This lady in an elegant old-fashioned dress was handing out goodies to the watching crowd.
This lady in an elegant old-fashioned dress was handing out goodies to the watching crowd.
A painter in Balboa Park gets an eyeful as the parade passes by.
A painter in Balboa Park gets an eyeful as the parade passes by.
Uncle Sam and lots of other happy San Diegans.
Uncle Sam and lots of other happy San Diegans.
Dr. Seuss seems to be a favorite author of the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department!
Dr. Seuss seems to be a favorite author of the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department!
The cool parade finally reaches the Plaza de Panama in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.
The cool parade finally reaches the spacious Plaza de Panama in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.
A second parade nears! Marines from San Diego's MCRD march down El Prado for a special historic ceremony.
A second parade nears! Marines from San Diego’s MCRD march down El Prado for a special ceremony.
The band leads the way as marchers from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot enter Plaza de Panama.
The band leads the way as marchers from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot enter Plaza de Panama.
The Marines played an important role in Balboa Park's beginning, and are duplicating their march from 100 years ago!
The Marines played an important role in Balboa Park’s beginning, and are duplicating their march from 100 years ago!
Marines stand at attention before San Diego mayor, MCRD commandant and other dignitaries speak during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Marines stand at attention. The San Diego mayor, MCRD commandant and other dignitaries spoke during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Civilian and military bystanders look on as a memorable San Diego event is taking place.
Civilian and military bystanders look on as a memorable San Diego event is taking place.
Proudly marching Marines head west down El Prado toward California Tower and Museum of Man.
Proudly marching Marines head west down El Prado toward California Tower and Museum of Man.
Marines start across the Cabrillo Bridge to reproduce a famous photograph from one hundred years ago!
Marines start across the Cabrillo Bridge to reproduce a famous photograph from one hundred years ago!

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Victorians, suffragettes and steampunk in a park!

San Diego Costume Guild members help Balboa Park celebrate its centennial.
San Diego Costume Guild members help Balboa Park celebrate its centennial.

Today a really cool event was held in San Diego called the Balboa Park Centennial Informal Gathering. A bunch of history lovers, park supporters, assorted clubs and organizations (including the San Diego Costume Guild) gathered together in Balboa Park and everyone wore period attire. The idea was to recreate what Balboa Park might have looked like one hundred years ago, when the 1915 Panama-California Exposition opened.

During my walk through the park, I saw folks everywhere wearing fancy dresses and hats . . . carrying parasols . . . sporting old-fashioned police and military uniforms . . . wearing suffragette sashes or steampunk goggles . . . riding high-wheeled penny-farthing bicycles . . . and lots of puzzled tourists looking about in complete astonishment. It was great!

Balboa Park Centennial Celebration marks 100 years of a truly amazing place.
Balboa Park Centennial Celebration marks the 100 year anniversary of an amazing place.
Folks in old-fashioned dresses and nostalgic garb were walking up and down El Prado.
Folks in old-fashioned dresses and nostalgic garb were walking up and down El Prado.
This 19th century fashion predates 1915, the year of the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park,
This 19th century fashion predates 1915, the year of the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park,
Two elegant ladies paused to smile for my camera in the park's central plaza.
Two elegant ladies paused to smile for my camera in the park’s big central plaza.
Some people dressed for the occasion enjoying the warm San Diego sunshine.
Some people dressed for the occasion were enjoying the warm San Diego sunshine.
Lots of very fancy hats could be seen everywhere I turned.
Lots of very fancy hats could be seen everywhere I turned.
Many in historical costumes would reenact a political march in support of Votes For Women.
Later in the afternoon, folks wearing historical costumes would reenact a political march supporting Votes For Women.
Two suffragettes with Votes For Women sashes follow a guy dressed in World War I era military uniform.
Two suffragettes with Votes For Women sashes follow a guy dressed in World War I era military uniform.
Back in 1915, the right for women to vote was an important issue and movement.
Back in 1915, the right for women to vote was an important issue and movement.
A display in the Balboa Park Club building included Women's Rights memorabilia from a hundred years ago.
A display in the Balboa Park Club building included Women’s Rights memorabilia from a hundred years ago.
Some people had steampunk goggles in the International Cottages area, where event participants converged.
A few people sported steampunk goggles. Event participants converged on the International Cottages lawn area.
Visitors from Balboa Park's past seem to come to life before my very eyes.
Visitors from Balboa Park’s past seem to come to life before my very eyes.
A bustle of Victorian activity in front of the House of England cottage.
A bustle of Victorian activity in front of the House of England cottage.

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