Festa fun in San Diego’s Little Italy!

a crowd enjoys festa in little italy

Okay, here come some pics from my stroll through Festa today. This popular festival featured food, entertainment and lots of art. It took place in Little Italy, a neighborhood in the north part of downtown San Diego, once populated largely by Italian fisherman who worked in the local tuna fleet. But that was decades ago. The streets today are lined mostly with condos, restaurants and shops.

checking out some italian stuff at festa

Thousands of San Diegans turned out for the celebration. There were plenty of tents filled with crafts, clothing, toys, jewelry–just about anything you could imagine. Almost all of it was Italian-themed.

musicians perform at festa in san diego

Musical performers could be heard everywhere, entertaining the crowd from several stages. There was much romantic Italian music–and I even heard a bit of opera!

festa artist sets up some paintings

This lady is setting up some paintings behind a Little Italy fountain.

festa artwork around little italy fountain

I saw this really cool sculpture (and a number of others) beside the same fountain. All sorts of interesting elements are in this photograph!

italian food galore at little italy's festa

Italian food could be found (and smelled) wherever one turned! I enjoyed a slice of pizza!

musician plays accordion at italian festa

Smilin’ Jack performed with his accordion! That’s just a small taste of Festa!

Gesso Italiano artwork on San Diego street.

a fantastic face of chalk at festa festival

Here are more photos of the Italian chalk art, properly called Gesso Italiano, at today’s 2013 Festa event in Little Italy. I’ve got so many great pics, it’s hard to choose which ones to show. Oh, well. I hope you like these! (Make sure you check out my previous post.)

artist creates chalk madonna and child

Three blocks of a city street in San Diego’s Little Italy became the canvas for chalk creations! Lots of classical images, as one might expect from a celebration of Italy . . .

disney chalk art jiminy cricket

I bet Walt Disney himself would’ve been delighted by this colorful chalk art Jiminy Cricket!

dogue italia colorful chalk art at festa

This humorous piece seems to be named Dogue Italia. That’s one elegantly dressed dog!

elegant lady rendered in chalk at festa

More beautiful artistry . . .

italian chalk face at san diego's festa

A striking portrait. You’d think this was an exquisite painting hung in a museum!

lots of people and little italy chalk art

I have even more photos coming . . . so check back soon!

Amazing chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa!

amazing little italy festa chalk art

Wow! I just finished a leisurely walk through Little Italy’s great 2013 Festa event, and by far the most amazing part of it was the chalk art competition! I learned that Italian chalk art is called Gesso Italiano. There were 62 colorful entries, taking up three full city blocks! I got so many great photos I’m going to break it all into several blog posts. Here comes the first batch!

awesome chalk art in little italy

All the artwork was fantastic!

colorful chalk face at little italy's festa

It was fascinating to watch the many artists at work. I wish I had such talent!

crazy colorful chalk art face in little italy

Lots of people converged on San Diego’s unique Italian Festival!

creating a chalk art masterpiece

Recreating a masterpiece with chalk.

girl touches finger of michelangelo chalk art god

I love this cool pic. One of the amazing chalk creations depicted another act of creation: that of God! The Sistine Chapel’s ceiling seemed to be transported to the asphalt street. Bystanders were invited to lie down and become part of Michelangelo’s divine masterpiece!

italian chalk art creation at festa

Stay tuned for more!

Pics of cool cars at Mustangs by the Bay.

awesome cars at mustangs by the bay

Embarcadero Marina Park North was overrun today with hundreds of cool cars and custom hot rods, and I’ve got some pics to prove it! The event was called Mustangs by the Bay, put on by the The Mustang Club of San Diego. Lots of people were just chillin’ for the weekend, checking out all the different cars. It was the perfect spot to enjoy barbeque served by Boy Scouts, classic oldies music, and awesome views of downtown, Seaport Village and beautiful San Diego Bay.

cool bojangles car by marriott marina

cool car fanatics at mustangs by the bay

cool cars and aircraft carrier ronald reagan

That big aircraft carrier with the number 76 is the Ronald Reagan, docked at North Island.

cool cars next to seaport village

I checked out that gray ship docked at the pier just north of Seaport Village. It appears to have been a Navy ship, but its number has been removed; I don’t have a clue what it’s used for.

mustangs by the bay and cool cars

super cool cars at mustangs by the bay

I saw lots of cool artwork!

Photos of San Diego Entrepreneur Day.

san diegans at entrepreneur day

I was walking downtown through East Village yesterday when I happened to stumble upon San Diego Entrepreneur Day.

According to their website, the annual event is a celebration meant to assist creative people, including students. Entrepreneur Day helps those who’d like to take their unique business concepts to reality. The event presents many potential collaboration and partnership opportunities.

Large and small businesses had set up displays along the street, and people were checking them out. Lots of cool swag was being given away. Several food trucks were part of the action, but I already had lunch waiting at home.

dancing at san diego entrepreneur day

The second pic shows some energetic dancers having a great time performing on a stage. I’m inspired!

San Diego’s new library has a grand opening!

people arrive for san diego library celebration

Check out these photos of the new San Diego Central Library’s grand opening! Located in East Village, one block from Petco Park, the new downtown library is a state-of-the-art multi-use facility containing a high school, job training center, auditorium, art gallery, sculpture courtyard, terraces with amazing city and bay views, roof gardens, and half a dozen community meeting rooms. Thirty years in the making, it’s enormous, beautiful and really amazing!

At the “Celebration and Sneak Peek” event, held late this morning, dignitaries, local politicians and benefactors gathered on an outdoor stage to dedicate the new library. A large crowd gathered to watch and applaud, showing great enthusiasm for San Diego’s new urban landmark.

The first photo, above, shows the festive arch through which many attendees arrived. On it are the words: THE STORY BEGINS. DISCOVER YOUR NEXT CHAPTER. The various colorful condos and office buildings you see are located in San Diego’s thriving East Village neighborhood.

navy band arrives for new library dedication

The second photo shows members of the regional Navy Band assembling by some tents not far from the stage. They would perform during the historic ceremony. The yellowish-orange building on the right is a tiny glimpse of Petco Park.

san diego gay men's chorus performs

The next photo shows the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus performing while dignitaries gather on the stage. The diverse crowd has become quite large and enthusiastic.

colorful people in crowd at library opening

A variety of costumed people could be spotted in the audience, and among the large crowds surrounding the library. They looked like roving characters from a Shakespeare Festival!

presentation of colors at library grand opening

Everyone here is watching the presentation of colors, just before the speeches begin. The kids in front of the stage are the San Diego Children’s Choir, who sang their hearts out. At the podium stands interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

big crowd at san diego library grand opening

Here’s a wider photograph of the ceremony, taken while the requisite speeches were underway. The unique open metal dome of the new San Diego Central Library shines brilliantly in the sun!

kids have fun at san diego library celebration

Lastly, here’s a pic taken on 11th Avenue beside our fantastic, functional new downtown library. Numerous booths were attracting a stream of curious people. Information concerning community services, activities, educational opportunities, and all sorts of interesting stuff was made available to the public. This booth encouraged young kids to sing and create their own art.

The new library opens to the public for its first full day this coming Monday!

Rabbits ready to tube race at Bunnyfest.

rabbits ready to tube race at bunnyfest

Here’s another pic from Bunnyfest. Three rabbits are ready to compete in a big race! They’re poised before three burrow-like tubes, just waiting to be released… There they go! Which one will win?

The one nearest the camera popped out of its pipe first!

Just a sample of the fun stuff  I observed today during my walk!

Girls at Bunnyfest trim nails of rabbit.

girls at bunnyfest clip nails of rabbit

Here comes another pic from Sunday afternoon!

Walking back toward downtown, I happened to stumble upon Bunnyfest on the grass at the south side of Balboa Park. It was a surprisingly large event with lots of booths and activities, put on by the San Diego House Rabbit Society. Rabbits were everywhere! Big rabbits, small rabbits, ordinary rabbits, exotic rabbits . . . rabbits of every kind and description! In arms, in pens, and featured on many great works of art! I watched for a moment while two girl volunteers trimmed the nails of a bunny. Here’s the photo.

House of Turkey fiddler in Balboa Park.

house of turkey fiddler in balboa park

Last Sunday in Balboa Park, after checking out the free organ concert, I ventured across the street to the International Cottages. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages were built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition and represent 32 member countries. The little houses, situated in a picturesque cluster, are decorated and furnished in a way that recreates the unique culture of each nation.

Every Sunday (except during winter) one of the member nations features food and entertainment in the central grassy area. Last weekend it was the House of Turkey.

As I arrived, a Turkish fiddler was on stage fiddling away a merry tune while the audience clapped in rhythm. Here he is!

Turkey is one of several nations waiting to build their own cottage in Balboa Park. Here’s a pic of the nearby United Nations Building…

The United Nations Building among the International Cottages.
The United Nations Building among the International Cottages.

Robert Plimpton plays the Spreckels Organ.

Robert Plimpton at the Spreckels Organ.
Robert Plimpton at the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park.

Who’s that person at the microphone in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion? It looks like Robert Plimpton, San Diego’s Civic Organist Emeritus! Most of the time he uses his amazing musical talent as resident Organist of the First United Methodist Church.

Robert Plimpton was San Diego’s official Civic Organist from 1984 to 2000, when Dr. Carol Williams (first woman in the United States to be appointed Civic Organist) took his place. She happened to be out of town, so he returned for last Sunday’s free public concert in Balboa Park . . . and played magnificently, of course!

I tried to get a good photo of the organ’s enormous pipes, but the images turned out too shadowy. I’ll try again at some future time!

One plaque at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Dedicated to the people of San Diego and all the world, by the philanthropist Spreckels brothers in 1915.
A plaque at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Dedicated to the people of San Diego and all the world, by the philanthropist Spreckels brothers in 1915.
View of Spreckels Organ Pavilion from Japanese Friendship Garden.
View of Spreckels Organ Pavilion from a spot near the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Bust of John D. Spreckels watches organ concerts behind benches.
Bust of John D. Spreckels watches organ concerts behind benches.

Here’s a photo I took in late 2015, during Balboa Park’s yearlong centennial celebration.

Patricia McAfee, mezzo soprano, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, perform during A Tribute to Kate Sessions, "The Mother of Balboa Park" concert on November 8, 2015.
Patricia McAfee, mezzo soprano, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, entertain a Sunday afternoon audience during “A Tribute to Kate Sessions, The Mother of Balboa Park” concert on November 8, 2015.