Smiles at Escondido’s Grand Avenue Festival!

Escondido’s big Fall Grand Avenue Festival was held today.

Around midday I headed up to Escondido to experience the popular event.

Along the main stretch of Escondido’s historic downtown I saw a community gathered to enjoy a sunny, carefree Sunday. I saw neighbors and friends and food and entertainment and lots of vendors and fun.

There were local high school students demonstrating their competitive robots, which launched balls into the air.

Very creative artists showed their “Art In The Garden” at the Heritage Garden.

Diners along the sidewalks enjoyed lunch at their favorite eateries while engaged in people watching.

And, of course, there were many smiles.

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!

Taste of the Philippines at Waterfront Park!

A huge, very colorful event was held today on San Diego’s Embarcadero at Waterfront Park. Taste of the Philippines, presented by the House of the Philippines, offered food, culture, entertainment and fun galore!

After walking through Balboa Park (incidentally passing the new House of the Philippines cottage), I headed down toward San Diego Bay to check out this event.

I was amazed by the huge crowd! I guess it shouldn’t have been surprising, given how San Diego is home to the second largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.

I recognized various organizations that I’ve seen at past House of the Philippines lawn programs at the International Cottages. But at this epic event there was much, much more, including a big stage, beer garden, endless choices of food, and a kids play zone!

Enjoy some photos…

I learned that the PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company will be hosting a Parol Lantern Festival on December 13, 2021 at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. It’s now on my calendar!
A parol is a Christmas lantern in the Philippines. These star-shaped lanterns are hung along streets and outside homes. They are an expression of shared faith and hope.
All these poster displays concerning culture and history in the Philippines were created by students at Southwestern College.
A fascinating collection of old photos. Image of the Pilipino: 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
A San Diego Paré fan!
Photos of folk dance at the Samahan Philippine Dance Company table.
Traditional entertainment at the big stage during Taste of the Philippines.
Live mural painting at the festival.
Cecelia Linayao, local chalk artist, created this portrait of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who is part Filipino! You’ve seen her art many times on my blog.
Dane’s a super cool guy who paints custom longboards! His page on Instagram is @Kinjo_arts.

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!

Lightning and thunder at magical Spreckels concert!

Tonight an unusual, truly magical concert was held in Balboa Park at the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

As lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, internationally renowned organist Ahreum Han answered with her own own thunder for a small audience sheltered against the storm up on the pavilion stage.

Those of us who experienced this extraordinary concert, part of the 33rd San Diego International Organ Festival, sat almost directly under the majestic Spreckels Organ pipes and mere feet away from Ahreum Han as she played elegantly, easily, masterfully.

As you can imagine, the unusual circumstances provided a once-in-lifetime opportunity for music lovers. My goosebumps were on overdrive.

The music flowed like bright lightning from the fingers of Ahreum, and at times it seemed she was playing a duet with mighty nature. When she concluded each piece, thunder joined the applause.

You had to be there.

It was an experience an adventurous few, who refused to be deterred by a threat of lightning and rain, will never ever forget.

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!

Kids free at San Diego museums in October!

It’s October! You know what that means? It means kids get free admission to many museums and other family friendly attractions all around San Diego!

The month-long event is called Kids Free San Diego!

Want to learn more? Click here!

Oh, and by the way, see my photograph above? Yes! Nikigator has made its long-awaited return!

Nikigator stands once again outside the front entrance of the recently reopened, beautifully renovated Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. Wouldn’t it be fun to sit on that!

While I’m mentioning the Mingei, families should definitely head inside. The ground floor is now free to everyone, whatever your age. And one big display case holds all sorts of craft toys from around the world! Another contains carousel horses!

And one more thing. If your kids haven’t been to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park, they are missing out on some of the most incredible, spectacular toy train layouts anywhere in the world! And it’s free in October for kids, too!

Click here for all the museums and attractions that are participating this month in Kids Free 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!

Giant skeletons terrorize Mission Valley!

Giant, menacing skeletons have invaded the Target parking lot at Westfield Mission Valley!

This afternoon I noticed a pair of monstrous skeletons have leapt up onto the roof of a large truck in order to terrify motorists passing the shopping mall.

Careful they couldn’t see me, I circled the skeletons and was bewildered to observe a legion of other ghouls, ghosts and ghastly creatures lurking nearby. Some were even peering through windows!

Oh, wait. They’re not real?

Just scary props for this year’s outdoor Halloween attraction, The Haunted Hotel Disturbance?

The popular San Diego “haunted house” opens its doors to courageous souls this Friday, October 1st!

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!

Photos of Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration!

A wonderful new park officially opened yesterday in the Cherokee Point neighborhood of City Heights. The City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, community organizations and many neighbors and families came together for the Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration!

I swung by the new park during my walk in the late morning to check out some of the fun. I missed the welcome by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria but was able to catch the City Heights Steppers and Mariachi Victoria performing on the event stage. I walked through the extensive Resource Fair and met many people who are helping to enhance the life of this very diverse community.

Kids were enjoying a big outdoor play area across Landis Street and a Day of Play at the new community center, and many other activities could be enjoyed freely by the public, including a softball clinic at the beautiful green ball field and skating demonstrations at the nearby skatepark. The Fern Street Circus would also perform!

The public was invited to tour inside the new Park de la Cruz Community Center. Services offered at the center include Therapeutic Recreation and AgeWell Services. If you’re a senior in San Diego, check out this web page for information on staying fit and meeting new friends! I blogged about the program a couple years ago here.

The Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration was sponsored by the San Diego Parks Foundation.

Enjoy a few 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!

Star Wars cosplay at Return of the Jedi concert!

This evening I enjoyed a really great Return of the Jedi concert by the San Diego Symphony. The popular John Williams score was performed live at the outdoor Shell as the film played on a big screen above the musicians.

Before the concert began, Star Wars cosplay could be seen throughout the crowd. Dude Vader (pictured above) and several local Star Wars cosplay groups were in attendance.

Fans eagerly posed for photographs with Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, bounty hunter Boba Fett, evil Emperor Palpatine and other favorite characters.

During the movie, at triumphant moments, scattered lightsabers in the audience rose glowing in the darkness!

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 famous Disney movie ship in San Diego!

Some passengers who embark on a cruise aboard the Disney Wonder don’t realize there’s another “Disney ship” that makes San Diego its homeport. And it’s docked just a stone’s throw (or cannon shot) away!

HMS Surprise, of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, was one of the ships used in the filming of Disney’s 2011 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The museum ship portrayed Captain Hector Barbossa’s HMS Providence.

HMS Surprise, a beautiful replica of the 18th century Royal Navy frigate Rose, spent three months off Long Beach during the Pirates of the Caribbean filming.

HMS Surprise is better known for its leading role in another film. The tall ship co-starred with Russell Crowe in 2003’s epic, multiple Academy Award nominated Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Going on a Disney cruise out of San Diego? Are you a fan of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise? Walk a short distance along the Embarcadero and step aboard a cool Disney movie ship!

Learn more about HMS Surprise at the Maritime Museum of San Diego website 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!

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Listening to a Symphony rehearsal at The Shell.

Wonder.

Elation.

Ecstasy.

What word best describes an extraordinary experience that is free to music lovers in San Diego?

When the San Diego Symphony rehearses at The Shell at Embarcadero Marina Park South, anybody can sit mere feet away from the musicians. Just walk on up and take any seat. And listen. You’ll hear some of the finest music ever composed, played by a world-class symphony orchestra.

Sit close and feel the thunder!

This morning I sat in front of The Shell and felt the power of music wash through me, while I enjoyed the sunshine, the gleaming downtown skyline, and boats of every kind sailing by on San Diego Bay.

UPDATE!

Here come more pics! I took these during another sunny weekend rehearsal…

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!