Talented kids play the Spreckels Organ!

By far, the best part of my day in Balboa Park was the two o’clock Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez introduced four amazing kids, who each proceeded to play complex musical pieces!

These amazing local students range from 9 years old to 11th grade. The audience listened attentively as Aska Enomoto, Blake Bundschuh, Declan Bohley and Stephen Priest made the king of instruments come alive. Each young person explained why they loved playing organ. All received trophies for their outstanding achievements!

Only the most talented musicians are allowed to play the historic Spreckels Organ, the world’s largest outdoor musical instrument!

My blog doesn’t feature sound, unfortunately, so these photos will have to suffice. A picture might not be worth a thousand notes, but perhaps you can hear a majestic note or two coming through your eyes.

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!

Neighbors gather to beautify a city park!

This morning neighbors who live in San Diego’s downtown Cortez Hill community came together to beautify the Tweet Street linear park!

Lots of smiling folks were toiling along Tenth Avenue digging holes, planting new greenery, raking up leaves and spreading mulch . . . and having fun, too!

This special event was organized by the Friends of Tweet Street Park and Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program. I was amazed at how quickly a lot of work got done when many volunteers pitch in together!

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!

Scenes from Memorial Day in San Diego.

This morning I went to a Memorial Day ceremony at the San Diego Vietnam Peace Memorial, next to Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum. Representatives from San Diego’s Vietnamese community attended. They presented a wreath in remembrance. A beautiful new POW/MIA monument was revealed. (See my previous blog post.)

I and others then boarded an Old Town Trolley Tours bus. We were driven by our amazing Vietnam veteran driver Sam to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. There we attended the 119th Memorial Service and Day of Remembrance.

We heard deeply felt tributes to those who have served and sacrificed. Many wreaths were presented. Hearts poured out.

Thousand of tiny flags fluttered in the sea breeze.

Come along with me…

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!

POW/MIA monument unveiled at Veterans Museum.

A beautiful new POW/MIA monument was unveiled today at the San Diego Vietnam Peace Memorial, outside the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.

During a moving Memorial Day ceremony, a black cloth concealing the monument was removed, revealing a gorgeous mosaic showing the American flag, a soaring eagle, and at the center the POW/MIA emblem. The artists who created the mosaics at the Vietnam War Memorial in La Mesa were also responsible for this stunning work.

In a stirring speech we learned that the remains of 67 missing in action were identified and brought home in the last year. Those who lost their lives on our nation’s behalf will not be left behind.

And they will never be forgotten.

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!

Memorial Day weekend at Festival of the Sea!

As I arrived at the Festival of the Sea, the 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival was already underway.
As I arrived at the Festival of the Sea, the 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival was already underway.

There’s a great festival going on this Memorial Day weekend at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The new, family-friendly waterfront event, sponsored by the Port of San Diego, is called Festival of the Sea!

I headed to the Maritime Museum late this morning to see what was going on!

On the deck of the Star of India, I listened to the 27th Annual San Diego Sea Chantey Festival sponsored by San Diego Folk Heritage. Inside the steam ferry Berkeley, I got to see lots of art by local artists, then peruse books, prints and other used items that are being sold in a kind of nautical rummage sale. From the museum’s barge behind the Berkeley, I viewed a cannon battle out on San Diego Bay, then enjoyed free samples of Tillamook Ice Cream!

The Festival of the Sea also includes kids’ educational activities, costumes galore, and the opportunity to enjoy adult beverages while taking in amazing views of San Diego Bay.

Here come a few photos!

A friendly guy with a wooden leg welcomes me aboard Star of India for the new waterfront event, Festival of the Sea!
A smiling guy with a wooden leg welcomes me aboard Star of India for the new waterfront event, Festival of the Sea!
Gazing out at San Diego Bay from the back of the Maritime Museum of San Diego's barge.
Gazing out at San Diego Bay from the back of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s barge.
You just knew there would be a pirate!
You just knew there would be a pirate!
The free samples of Tillamook Ice Cream were super yummy.
The free samples of Tillamook Ice Cream were super yummy. (Yes, that tray you get holds four different flavors!)
Lots of artists had their work on display inside the elegant passenger deck of the Berkeley.
Lots of artists had their work on display inside the elegant passenger deck of the Berkeley.
Friendly author Joseph O'Loughlin has written an action-packed historical novel that takes place in the Age of Sail. Gallagher's Prize is the first book of a series!
Friendly author Joseph O’Loughlin has written an action-packed historical novel that takes place in the Age of Sail. Gallagher’s Prize is the first book of a series!
Photographer David J. Shuler has spent many years capturing beautiful images. You can check out his fine work at NauticalVisions.com
Photographer David J. Shuler has spent many years capturing beautiful images. You can check out his fine work at NauticalVisions.com
A large selection of art was being displayed aboard the Berkeley. I was surprised to see so much!
A large selection of art was being displayed aboard the Berkeley. I was surprised to see so much variety!
Norm Daniels was getting started on a new piece. He does a lot of plein air painting. His website is NormHere.com
Norm Daniels was getting started on a new piece. He does a lot of plein air painting. His website is NormHere.com
Examples of Norm Daniel's surf and island themed work.
Examples of Norm Daniel’s surf and island themed work.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego's unique Model Shop is busy during the festival.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s unique Model Shop is also active during the festival.
All sorts of used museum items are for sale during the Festival of the Sea. Not shown are numerous unique books about maritime history.
All sorts of used museum items are for sale during the Festival of the Sea. Not shown are numerous unique books about maritime history.
Beyond the museum's Soviet submarine, tall ships sail on San Diego Bay.
Beyond the museum’s Soviet submarine, tall ships sail on San Diego Bay.
Californian and Bill of Rights exchange a broadside!
Californian and Bill of Rights exchange a broadside!
The Martime Museum's beautiful Californian is the official tall ship of California.
The Maritime Museum’s beautiful Californian is the official tall ship of California.
A picturesque scene out on the nearby water.
A picturesque scene out on the nearby water.
Looking beyond HMS Surprise, which you might remember seeing in the great movie Master and Commander.
Looking beyond HMS Surprise, which starred with Russell Crowe in the great movie Master and Commander.
Back on the Star of India, people enjoy live entertainment.
Back on the Star of India, more people are gathering to enjoy live entertainment.
A kid explores the workings of the world's oldest active sailing ship!
A kid explores the workings of the world’s oldest active sailing ship!
The Jackstraws sing lively, often humorous tunes during the Festival of the Sea!
The Jackstraws sing lively, often humorous nautical tunes during the Festival of the Sea!

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Wreath ceremony on USS Midway honors heroes.

This morning I attended a special Memorial Day weekend ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway. Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our precious freedom were remembered and honored.

A community band played. The National Anthem was sung. Two vintage warplanes passed overhead. The colors were retired.

Veterans and those who fell in battle were thanked with moving speeches. Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, commander of Navy Region Southwest, spoke powerfully about protecting liberty. I jotted down a few of her words. “Our banner of Freedom soaring high . . . others before self . . . honoring their lives and their great sacrifices . . .”

Veterans in attendance were asked to speak into a microphone and tell everyone where they served. Repeated applause.

Four wreaths honoring those who’ve gone before were tossed from the flight deck into San Diego Bay, and a fifth was tossed from the Maritime Museum’s restored Swift Boat.

Harbor Patrol boats signaled their honor with columns of water.

Many salutes.

Fluttering flags in sunlight.

Proud faces.

Faces of those who have served their nation.

Faces of those who remember.

Faces of those who 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!

Conan reappears on Spreckels Theatre marquee!

This morning I noticed Conan O’Brien’s name has reappeared on the marquee of San Diego’s Spreckels Theatre. That means Comic-Con can’t be too far away!

Conan O’Brien late-night talk show on TBS is returning to San Diego for 2019, and audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy his wry humor from July 17 to July 20.

With less than two months to go until San Diego Comic-Con, I also noticed a couple of shops in the Gaslamp Quarter seem to be getting ready!

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!