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.

Padres fan gear vendor outside Petco Park.

padres fan gear vendor outside petco park

Late this morning, loads of Padres fans anticipating a great baseball game were entering Petco Park from its east side. Before filing through the gate and past the cool new Jerry Coleman memorial, they passed this colorful vendor. All sorts of Padres gear was on display for supportive fans.

Sunny summer days of baseball are full of life, sounds, smells, color and pageantry. Going to a Padres game in San Diego is always a fun experience, win or lose!

Padres fans converge on Petco Park for another baseball game.
Padres fans converge on Petco Park for another baseball game.

I took a couple more related pics at the beginning of the 2015 season…

Any vendors at this entrance on opening weekend of the 2015 season are hidden by lots of excited fans!
Any vendors at this entrance on opening weekend of the 2015 season are hidden by lots of excited fans!
This smiling entrepreneur set up shop on a sidewalk a couple blocks from Petco Park.
A smiling entrepreneur set up shop on a sidewalk a couple blocks from Petco Park.

Chalk evidence of stickball in Little Italy.

chalk evidence of stickball in little italy

Several days ago while out on a walk I took this photo of chalk writing on Columbia Street. It appears games of stickball have recently taken place.

Occasionally over the years I’ve wandered into people in Little Italy playing this classic American game. While the game is most popular in the Northeastern United States, organized games are played in San Diego, with a handful of teams and a few laid-back spectators on lawn chairs.

UPDATE!

I caught some live stickball action on a Saturday morning in late summer, and here are a couple pics!

Players gather for some fun on a Saturday in downtown's Little Italy.
Players gather for some fun on a Saturday in downtown’s Little Italy.
Stickball action in front of the San Diego Firehouse Museum.
Stickball action in front of the San Diego Firehouse Museum.

Big crowd at San Diego’s 2013 Festival of Sail!

big crowd at festival of sail

Sunday afternoon brought a gigantic crowd to San Diego’s sunny waterfront. The 2013 Festival of Sail appears to be a resounding success! This photo was taken at the annual event’s busy entrance just south of the Star of India.

A huge mass of humanity also surged along the Embarcadero in the vicinity of the sand sculpture event on the cruise ship pier, and by the USS Midway and Seaport Village. Lines were long everywhere, and street vendors and performers were raking in the money!

One often hears that America’s Finest City is a top destination for tourists on Labor Day weekend…I certainly believe it!

UPDATE!

It’s almost a year later and the 2014 Festival of Sail is a couple days away! This year I’ll actually attend, brave the huge crowds and take a bunch of pics!

Banner is up a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!
Banner is up on Star of India a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!

San Diego Symphony banner adds life downtown.

san diego symphony banner downtown

When descending Cortez Hill, I often walk south down 8th Avenue past the big colorful banner on the Copley Symphony Hall building. I enjoy the huge, energetic image of Jahja Ling conducting the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

The above photograph was taken from the City College gymnasium on Park Boulevard. It’s a perfect spot to snap pics of downtown skyscrapers looking west.

Different San Diego Symphony banner on west side of building.
Different San Diego Symphony banner on west side of building.