Readers, writers gather for Festival of Books!

Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!

This morning I headed to Liberty Station in Point Loma to enjoy the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!

I was excited to see that a positively enormous crowd had gathered to celebrate reading and writing! I didn’t attend any of the panels, but I did walk around to check out fascinating displays by local authors, publishers, cultural institutions and organizations that promote literacy. I spoke to many of the writers and was inspired by their creative energy and optimism!

These days the written word might be read on phones more frequently than on paper, but those words are just as vital as ever.

What would life be without words?

Words connect people.

Words define the world to our minds.

Words are how we create meaning.

The big San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books was held at Liberty Station in Point Loma.
The big San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books was held at beautiful Liberty Station in Point Loma.
Many local and regional authors showcased their books at the festival.
Many local and regional authors showcased their books at the festival.
Readers could meet friendly authors, get a signed copy, and make new discoveries!
Readers could meet friendly authors, get a signed copy, and make new discoveries!
Looks like Frida Kahlo is into that book.
Looks like Frida Kahlo is into that book.
Books as decor??? READ THEM, you silly people!
Books as decor? READ THEM, you silly people!
Write Out Loud, who produces TwainFest and other cool literary events, smiled for my camera! PoeFest in Old Town's spooky-at-night Adobe Chapel is coming in October.
Write Out Loud, who produces TwainFest and other cool literary events, smiled for my camera! PoeFest in Old Town’s spooky-at-night Adobe Chapel is coming in October!
I read a few days ago that the La Jolla Playhouse's musical Diana is heading to Broadway. Thumbs up!
I read a few days ago that the La Jolla Playhouse’s musical Diana is heading to Broadway. Thumbs up!
These cool folks representing the San Diego Repertory Theatre told me their digs at Horton Plaza are getting an upgrade!
These cool folks representing the San Diego Repertory Theatre told me their digs at Horton Plaza are getting an upgrade!
An exciting new era is beginning at the San Diego Symphony. Their new conductor is internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare!
An exciting new era is beginning at the San Diego Symphony. Their new conductor is internationally acclaimed Rafael Payare!
I know why these folks are smiling. Comedian Steve Martin's funny farce, The Underpants, is now playing at the Old Globe Theatre!
I know why these folks are smiling. Comedian Steve Martin’s funny farce, The Underpants, is now playing at the Old Globe Theatre!
Letras Sin Fronteras had their bookmobile at the festival.
Letras Sin Fronteras had their cool bookmobile at the festival.
The state of Maine asked Coronado author Tamara Merrill to write a book about prejudice in that region's past. It's titled Shadows in Our Bones.
The state of Maine asked Coronado author Tamara Merrill to write a book about prejudice in that region’s past. It’s titled Shadows in Our Bones.
I remember seeing Sheri Fink with her fun Whimsical World children's books during my walks near Seaport Village!
I remember seeing Sheri Fink with her fun Whimsical World children’s books during my walks near Seaport Village!
I love the cover of The Happy Little Garbage Truck by author Josan Wright Callender!
I love the cover of The Happy Little Garbage Truck by author Josan Wright Callender!
I caught an energetic performance by San Diego Taiko at the festival stage.
I caught an energetic performance by San Diego Taiko at the festival stage.
I also enjoyed seeing some cool Star Wars cosplay!
I also enjoyed seeing some awesome Star Wars cosplay!
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
Some fun, easy books that a young kid would surely love!
Some fun, easy books that any young kid would surely love!
San Diego Writers, Ink had a table at the Festival of Books. They nurture local writers with classes, groups, workshops and readings!
San Diego Writers, Ink had a table at the Festival of Books. They nurture local writers with classes, groups, workshops and readings!
Author Jim Stevens said I couldn't read a few sentences from any page of his novel without laughing. I did . . . and I did!
Author Jim Stevens said I couldn’t read a few sentences from any page of this novel without laughing. I did . . . and I did!
San Diego Zoo Global Press has launched fun children's books about animals! I met author and illustrator of Periwinkle's Journey, Suzy Spafford, of Suzy's Zoo fame.
San Diego Zoo Global Press has launched fun children’s books about animals! I met author and illustrator of Periwinkle’s Journey, Suzy Spafford, of Suzy’s Zoo fame.
A penguin makes a journey...
A penguin makes a journey…
Anyone could piece together poems like mosaics at the Words To Go table.
Anyone could piece together poems like mosaics at the Words To Go table.
I learned UC San Diego Extension is building a new facility in downtown's East Village. Very cool!
I learned UC San Diego Extension is building a new facility in downtown’s East Village. Very cool!
Some fun kids art at their table!
Some colorful kids art at their table!
Local word lover Richard Lederer, the Wizard of Idiom, was showing his many books and silently correcting my grammar.
Local word lover Richard Lederer, the Wizard of Idiom, was showing his many books and silently correcting my grammar.
Mister is the true story of a chicken, inspired by a San Diego teacher!
Mister is the true story of a chicken, inspired by a San Diego teacher!
Eat. Sleep. Read.
Eat. Sleep. Read.
KPBS had a table display of this year's One Book, One San Diego titles.
KPBS had a table display of this year’s One Book, One San Diego titles.
Visitors to the festival could write the title of their favorite book on this big chalkboard.
Visitors to the festival could write the title of their favorite book on this big chalkboard.
The San Diego Public Library had a booth, plus a nearby bookstore at the festival.
The San Diego Public Library had a booth, plus a nearby bookstore at the festival.
Visitors could write suggestions for the San Diego Public Library. Ebooks appeared to be a popular desire.
Visitors could write suggestions for the San Diego Public Library. Ebooks appeared to be a popular desire.
The Union Tribune had a special exhibit concerning journalism. Truth is Always the Strongest Argument.
The Union Tribune had a special exhibit concerning journalism. Truth is Always the Strongest Argument – Sophocles.
The Festival of Books is an amazing San Diego event where writers and readers meet and share a love for the written word!
The Festival of Books is an absolutely amazing San Diego event where writers and readers meet and share a love for the written word!

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!

World-class sand masters smile for fun photos!

Cool sand artists rest for a bit near the foot of Broadway Pier as they create a welcoming sculpture for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! A couple faces look familiar from past competitions!
Cool sand artists rest for a bit near the foot of Broadway Pier as they create a welcoming sculpture for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! A couple faces look familiar from past competitions!

Some of the world’s greatest sand artists smiled for my camera late this afternoon! They’re now carving sand sculptures on Broadway Pier that will greet people as they arrive for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.

During Labor Day weekend, these extraordinary artists will be working hard inside the Port Pavilion, where the public can watch them create spectacular pieces of fine art out of compacted sand!

If you’re in San Diego, it’s the big Labor Day weekend event you shouldn’t miss!

On the other side of the welcoming sand sculpture, a design is being carved that celebrates the 250th anniversary of the city of San Diego!
On the other side of the welcoming sand sculpture, a design is being carved that celebrates the 250th Anniversary of the City of San Diego!
One of the outdoor sand sculptures near the Port Pavilion is sponsored by MTS. It's a work still in progress.
One of the outdoor sand sculptures near the Port Pavilion is sponsored by San Diego’s public transit system, MTS. It’s a work still in progress.
Sand master and TV star Chris Guinto smiles for my camera! I met him briefly five years ago during this annual competition. This sculpture he's working on promotes Natural Light Seltzer.
Sand master and TV star Chris Guinto smiles for my camera! I met him briefly five years ago during the annual competition. This sculpture he’s working on for an event sponsor will promote Natural Light Seltzer.

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!

Compacting sand for world-class sculptures!

This morning sand is being compacted in wooden forms on the Broadway Pier. That means Labor Day weekend can’t be very far away, along with the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

During this annual festival, fine art will be created by some of the world’s top sand sculptors in the pier’s Port Pavilion. Meanwhile, I was told that the carving of several sponsored sand sculptures outdoors on the pier begins tomorrow!

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 most extraordinary organ concert.

Over the years, during the course of many International Summer Organ Festivals in Balboa Park, I’ve been fortunate to hear concerts by some of the greatest organists in the world.

But this evening’s concert was extraordinary.

I’m at a loss for words to describe how much I was moved by the masterful, absolutely astonishing performance by Gunnar Idenstam.

Gunner Idenstam, from Sweden, has distinguished himself by winning some of the highest prizes and honors in the organ world. In 1984 he won the very prestigious international competition in improvisation, the Grand Prix de Chartres.

His concert tonight, to my ear, was perfect. He made the Spreckels Organ sound like a sparkling heart.

From his fingertips, through the pipes, came waves and droplets and streams of emotion from the deepest wells. The organ’s voice was complex, subtle, dancing, regal, triumphant, exuberant, sometimes manic, and it soared and soared, and stirred, and soared again, lifting me to a place of pure, exalted emotion.

I don’t know how to describe it.

Parts of his composition Metal Angel were so exultant I almost felt myself flying.

Listening with my eyes closed, I could feel my spirit whirling forward through an epic story. With victory in reach.

Great writing, reading celebrated at TwainFest!

Giant puppets representing Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe roam Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2019 TwainFest!
Giant puppets representing Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe roam Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2019 TwainFest!

Today I enjoyed one of my very favorite San Diego events. I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for a celebration of great writing and reading at 2019 TwainFest!

Literature is the focus of this annual festival–the most famous 19th century literature and writers in particular. Produced by Write Out Loud, TwainFest features live readings, performances, period music and costumes, games, and a variety of fun activities for the entire family.

Kids not only develop an appreciation for classic books, but they experience the joy of creativity!

Here comes a tall Mark Twain puppet walking through Old Town San Diego!
Here comes a tall Mark Twain puppet walking through Old Town San Diego!
A noon parade circles the Old Town plaza during 2019 TwainFest, where great writers and reading are celebrated!
A noon parade circles the Old Town plaza during 2019 TwainFest, where great writers and reading are celebrated!
Many characters in 19th century period costume could be spotted at the annual event.
Many characters in 19th century period costume could be spotted at the annual event.
Musical entertainment on the main stage. Fiesta de Reyes presents TwainFest by Write Out Loud. Laughter, Levity and Literature.
Musical entertainment on the main stage. Fiesta de Reyes presents TwainFest by Write Out Loud. Laughter, Levity and Literature.
This sea captain might have been an acquaintance of Herman Melville. He has been joined by Lewis Carroll's Red Queen.
This salty Captain Swordfish might have been an acquaintance of Moby Dick author Herman Melville. He has been joined by Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen.
I met Walt Whitman, who told me this is his first time at TwainFest.
I met poet Walt Whitman, who told me this is his first time at TwainFest.
One of many fun games at TwainFest. Spinning the Wheel of Fiction, in order to solve a literary clue.
One of many fun games at TwainFest. Spinning the Wheel of Fiction, in order to solve a literary clue.
Characters and scenes from Mark Twain's stories could be colored, like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Characters and scenes from Mark Twain’s stories could be colored, like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Anyone could walk up, grab a marker, and help write several Never Ending Stories.
Anyone could walk up, grab a marker, and help write several Never Ending Stories.
A performance of a magical folk tale in the Japanese Kamishibai tradition.
A performance of a magical folk tale in the Japanese Kamishibai tradition.
Lively music from 19th century San Diego adds life to the cultural event.
Lively music from 19th century San Diego adds life to the cultural event.
Some fun musical accompaniment nearby.
Some fun musical accompaniment nearby.
Kids were learning how to play drums and the fife.
Kids were learning how to play drums and the fife.
The young and the young at heart could play Victorian era games on the grass, including wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg races and the game of graces.
The young and the young at heart could play Victorian era games on the grass, including wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg races and the game of graces.
A crazy wheelbarrow race is underway. It's hard not to fall out when you turn!
A crazy wheelbarrow race is underway. It’s hard not to fall out when your driver abruptly turns!
Visitors to TwainFest could learn how to make simple books by folding paper and applying fancy cover designs with a glue stick.
Visitors to TwainFest could learn how to make simple books by folding paper and applying fancy cover designs with a glue stick.
Of course, a literature themed event must include lots of classic books.
Of course, a literature themed event must include lots of classic books.
Shelves full of books!
Shelves full of books!
Some history reenactors had set up a Civil War era field encampment.
Some history reenactors had set up a Civil War era field encampment.
Union soldiers in uniform appear at attention.
Union soldiers in uniform appear at attention.
The nearby Headquarters Post Office contained more costumed participants.
The nearby Headquarters Post Office contained more costumed participants.
A working telegraph was on display.
A working telegraph was on display.
While walking about, I noticed many smiling volunteers handing out TwainFest programs.
While walking about, I noticed many smiling people handing out TwainFest programs. (I’m sure Write Out Loud always welcomes new volunteers.)
Stories were being told at the Casa de Estudillo about immigrants, the descendants of early California, and the road to women's suffrage.
Stories were being told at the Casa de Estudillo about immigrants, the descendants of early California, and the road to women’s suffrage.
At the Old Town Courthouse Museum, people could take a literacy test to see whether they could vote in the election of 1872.
At the Old Town Courthouse Museum, people could take a literacy test to see whether they could vote in the election of 1872.
Political illustrations and cartoons from print over a century ago.
Political illustrations and cartoons from print over a century ago.
Young people were enjoying a Mad Hatter tea party, with Alice and other Wonderland characters!
Young people were enjoying a Mad Hatter tea party, with Alice and other Wonderland characters!
It appeared that some people had already painted Tom Sawyer's fence with whitewash!
It appeared that some people had already painted Tom Sawyer’s fence with whitewash!
Is that the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts? I get them confused.
Is that the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts? I get them confused.
Don't be an idiom. (You probably don't want to be an oxymoron either.)
Don’t be an idiom. (You probably don’t want to be an oxymoron either.)
More dramatic words were being read inside Old Town's one room Mason Street Schoolhouse. I recognized funny passages from Tom Sawyer.
More dramatic words were being read inside Old Town’s one room Mason Street Schoolhouse. I recognized those funny wart-cure passages from Tom Sawyer.
A puppet show delights kids in Old Town's plaza.
A puppet show delights kids in Old Town’s plaza.
The smiles go on and on during TwainFest...
The smiles and good times live on and on during TwainFest…
...thanks in part to this amiable if somewhat satirical fellow.
…thanks in part to this amiable if somewhat satirical fellow.

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Have fun on Mission Bay for a good cause!

Today I learned that Susan G. Komen’s 19th Annual Row for the Cure is coming up on Sunday, October 27, 2019!

I can affirm after watching the Row for the Cure out on Mission Bay last year that this event is definitely fun! And money raised is used to fight breast cancer!

Any and all are welcome to participate. There are a variety of activities that you can enjoy, including kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. Or simply hang out on the grass or the sand and watch!

Learn the details by visiting the Susan G. Komen website here!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

A WWII paratrooper and his 2019 Normandy jump.

Tom Rice smiles after a brief speech at the 2019 Spirit of '45 Celebration at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.
Tom Rice smiles after a brief speech at the 2019 Spirit of ’45 Celebration at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

Today I listened to a few words that were spoken by Tom Rice, a 97-year-old member of the Greatest Generation. He spoke during the annual Spirit of ’45 Celebration at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. He came up to the podium and told the audience about his experiences.

In the dark, very early morning of D-Day, 75 years ago, Tom parachuted behind Nazi lines with other brave soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, to pave the way for the invasion and liberation of Europe. In 2019 he parachuted into Normandy again, to honor other World War II veterans, many of whom are no longer with us.

He remembered his deeds with humility.

I learned that a film will soon be released that features Tom Rice’s anniversary jump. Libertas, which is the title of the Normandy Jump 2019 documentary, will be pre-screened on August 17 & 18, 2019, at the Vintage Village Theatre in Coronado, California. After the screening there will be a panel discussion with the film director, producer, and Tom.

Money raised through ticket sales will be used by Honor Flight for their Fall 2019 Tour of Honor, which will send World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. so they can see their memorials. There are over 100 San Diego veterans on the waiting list.

Should you pre-order the DVD, use the code “Honor Flight” at check-out and $5 will go to help make the Tour of Honor possible.

To learn how you can buy a ticket for the special pre-screening of Libertas, or if you’d like to order the DVD, please visit this website.

I know some of this blog’s followers are in the local military community. Spread the word!

If you’d like to donate to Honor Flight San Diego, click here!