Most patriotic San Diego on the Fourth of July.

Uncle Sam invites passersby into a Gaslamp bar.
Uncle Sam invites passersby into a Gaslamp bar.

San Diego recently made the news as America’s most patriotic city, according to a popular social media network. It doesn’t surprise me. San Diego has more military installations and a higher concentration of veterans than any other city in the United States.

So on the Fourth of July you might expect to see a whole lot of patriotism. You’re right!

Tonight one of the biggest firework displays in the country will take place on San Diego Bay. Right now, people are filtering into the area around the bay to claim viewing spots, have barbeques and picnics, and get themselves ready for the Big Bay Boom, until the number will reach hundreds of thousands.

This afternoon I walked around the Gaslamp and the Embarcadero. Here come some pics!

The streets of San Diego filled with patriotic sights.
The streets of San Diego’s Gaslamp District filled with patriotic sights.
Shop window in the Gaslamp filled with American flags.
Shop window in the Gaslamp filled with American flags.
Friendship and brotherhood on an American pier.
Friendship and brotherhood on the Embarcadero Marina Park South  pier.
Boat decked with Fourth of July bunting.
One of many boats decked with Fourth of July bunting.
The bayfront parks are crowded with tents and celebrating Americans.
The bayfront parks are crowded with tents and celebrating Americans.
Thousands along San Diego Bay enjoy barbeque and play.
Thousands along San Diego Bay enjoy barbeque and play.
People have claimed spots to watch tonight's fireworks on the bay.
People have claimed spots to watch tonight’s fireworks on the bay.
Street performer poses with red, white and blue.
Street performer poses with red, white and blue.
Many in the crowd are wearing patriotic clothing.
Many in the crowd are wearing patriotic clothing.
USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strung with festive colors.
USS Carl Vinson, an active aircraft carrier, strung with festive colors.
A display on the Embarcadero of historic diving equipment.
A display on the Embarcadero of historic diving equipment.
Young man near USS Midway speaks to retired Navy diver.
Young man near USS Midway speaks to retired Navy diver.
Just kicking back on a beautiful Independence Day.
Just kicking back on a sunny San Diego Independence Day.
The Patriot speed boat is fit for the occasion.
The Patriot speed boat is fit for the occasion.
Cool pedicab driver gives a peace sign on Fourth of July.
Cool pedicab driver gives a peace sign on Fourth of July.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Comic-Con banners!

Gamora of Guardians of the Galaxy on a banner.
Gamora of Guardians of the Galaxy on a cool banner!

I took these quick photos this morning during a meandering walk through downtown. 2014 San Diego Comic-Con is only three weeks away!

A couple days ago I saw a San Diego trolley with an awesome Gotham television show wrap. I didn’t whip out my camera fast enough, unfortunately. Next time I have a chance, I’ll snap a pic and post it!

I started this blog last year, just a few weeks after Comic-Con had ended, so this year I plan to get a load of interesting images! Stay tuned!

Star-Lord in action on a San Diego Gaslamp street lamp!
Star-Lord in action on a San Diego Gaslamp street lamp!
Groot and Rocket are ready to fight cosmic evil.
Groot and Rocket are ready to fight cosmic evil.
Drax on a cool San Diego Comic-Con sign.
Drax on Comic-Con banner near San Diego Convention Center.
Big Hero 6 banners line Broadway in downtown San Diego.
Big Hero 6 banners line Broadway in downtown San Diego.

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Tony Gwynn’s Memorial Tribute at Petco Park.

Tony Gwynn on video screen at Petco's Park at the Park.
Tony Gwynn on video screen at Petco’s Park at the Park.

Tonight I joined thousands of other San Diegans at Petco Park to honor the late Tony Gwynn, the greatest Padres player ever…and one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the sport.

I apologize that my camera takes very poor long distance shots. There were many speakers paying tribute to Tony, and my photos of the distant stage and podium came out terribly.

A few photographs seem to have captured the spirit of the occasion. Here they are…

San Diegans pay their respects at the Tony Gwynn statue.
San Diegans pay their respects at the Tony Gwynn statue.
Flowers, messages and memorabilia from loving fans.
Flowers, messages and memorabilia from loving fans.
Child reaches up to touch number 19.
Child reaches up to touch number 19.
Padres fans enter the stands before Tony Gwynn memorial begins.
Padres fans enter the stands before Tony Gwynn memorial begins.
Anthony Keith Gwynn, the greatest Padre ever.
Anthony Keith Gwynn, the greatest Padre ever.
Thanks for the memories, Mr. Padre.
Thanks for the memories, Mr. Padre.
Thousands gather long before the memorial tribute starts.
Thousands gather long before the memorial tribute starts.
Thank you signs and poignant gestures from the crowd.
Thank you signs and poignant gestures from the crowd.
White doves are released near the stage as program begins.
White doves are released near the stage as program begins.

Nineteen doves were released after a choir opened the service, singing: “I’m not here, but I’m not far. My spirit lives on.”

Ted Leitner remembers Tony and introduces many guests.
Ted Leitner remembers Tony and introduces many guests.

Ted Leitner, long-time Padres radio announcer, said that we’d never forget the greatest hitter of his generation. He then asked the crowd to provide one last standing ovation. During the memorial tribute, Ted played a recording of Tony’s unforgettable laugh from a cell phone.

There were scores of distinguished guests, and several speakers remembered Tony Gwynn for the cheering crowd.

Reggie Jackson, Mr. October, gave a Yankee salute to Tony and his family. San Diego’s mayor spoke, and so did the Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball. Tony La Russa and Joe Torre stood up in the VIP section to loud applause. On the big video screen, tributes were offered by former teammates and opponents alike. In old videos, Tony Gwynn was treated with respect by contemporary baseball greats, including Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken, Greg Maddux, Tommy Lasorda and many others.

Every guest speaker at the memorial seemed to agree that Tony was an inspiration to all those around him. To many he was a mentor, and to all he was a friend.

Tony Gwynn is remembered as a great player and great man.
Tony Gwynn is remembered as a great player and great man.
After the ceremony, number 19 remains on field.
After the ceremony, number 19 remains on field.
Petco Park slowly empties after tribute ends.
Petco Park slowly empties after tribute ends.

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Anthony Newman plays the Spreckels Organ.

People arrive early to get good seats for tonight's organ concert.
People arrive very early to get good seats for tonight’s organ concert.

Mere pictures and words are inadequate to describe the fantastic concert I enjoyed this evening in Balboa Park. Tonight was the first Monday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion of the Summer International Organ Festival.

The special guest organist was Anthony Newman, widely considered one of the foremost Baroque musicians in the United States. He’s made countless recordings, won numerous awards, performed at New York City’s prestigious Lincoln Center more than 60 times, and was described by Wynton Marsalis as “The High Priest of Bach.” Tonight’s concert, I’m glad to say, was jam packed with Johann Sebastian Bach–my absolute favorite composer!

Anthony Newman seemed superhuman at times. He played difficult pieces with ease, crispness and energy.  It was flawless poetry and simply amazing.  The concert was over much too soon!

Here are a few pics!

Spreckels Organ Society membership table and a smile.
Spreckels Organ Society membership table and a smile.
Anticipating first concert of Summer International Organ Festival.
Anticipating first concert of the Summer International Organ Festival.
Big banner on Organ Pavilion's colonnade announces the event.
Big banner on Organ Pavilion’s colonnade announces the free event.
Rolling out the red carpet for great organist Anthony Newman.
Rolling out the red carpet for great American organist Anthony Newman.
Flag and a bronze plaque of the historic pavilion.
Flag and a bronze plaque of the historic pavilion.
Beautiful pavilion is a treat for the eye in changing light.
Beautiful building is a treat for the eye in changing light.
Elegant peek by organ assistant at the growing crowd.
Elegant peek by organ assistant at the growing crowd.
Dr. Carol Williams, civic organist, announces guest musician.
Dr. Carol Williams, San Diego’s Civic Organist, announces guest artist.
Famed Baroque organist Anthony Newman greets audience.
Famed Baroque organist Anthony Newman greets audience.
A masterful performance on the Spreckels Organ begins.
A masterful performance on the Spreckels Organ begins.

Those pipes you see on the left side of the stage form the new Centennial Tuba rank, soon to be added to the Spreckels Organ for its one hundredth anniversary on New Year’s Eve!

Anthony Newman acknowledges enthusiastic applause.
Anthony Newman acknowledges long, enthusiastic applause.
KUSI television cameraman records a portion of the event.
KUSI television cameraman records a portion of the event.
The lights come on in the twilight and the pavilion becomes magical.
The lights come on in the twilight and the pavilion becomes magical.
There are 1400 embedded lights in the main structure and colonnades.
There are 1400 embedded lights in the main structure and colonnades.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. You can observe similar plaster ornamentation on the Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings that line El Prado, in the center of Balboa Park.

Night descends and people stretch their legs during intermission.
Night descends and people stretch their legs during intermission.

My camera is worthless at night, so I recorded only half of the evening.  But the music throughout was amazing!  What a brilliant start to the 2014 International Organ Festival!

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Lots of yummy food at San Diego County Fair!

Every kind of yummy food at the San Diego County Fair.
Every kind of yummy food at the San Diego County Fair.

Holy macaroni! I want to eat everything in sight! Much of it is deep fried, most is super sugary, and it all appears delectably scrumptious! At the big San Diego County Fair, which takes place every year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, all sorts of tasty food are easily found. Food stands are waiting for you in every direction! It’s a shame my blog doesn’t feature savory smells. You’d press your nose right up next to the screen!

Fresh squeezed lemonade in the Fun Zone.
Fresh squeezed lemonade in the Fun Zone.
Funnel cakes and bacon donuts!
Funnel cakes and bacon donuts!
Tecate beer at Plaza de Mexico.
Tecate beer at Plaza de Mexico.
Visitors feast at picnic benches during the 2014 Fab Fair.
Visitors feast at picnic benches during the 2014 Fab Fair.
Lots of ribs, burgers and colossal curly fries.
Lots of ribs, burgers and colossal curly fries.
Caramel apples, cupcakes, and Indian fry bread.
Caramel apples, cupcakes, and Indian fry bread.
Hot dogs and sausages on sticks!
Hot dogs and sausages on sticks!
Eating on the run with so much to see and do!
Eating on the run with so much to see and do!
Giant smoked turkey legs and roasted corn.
Giant smoked turkey legs and roasted corn.
Turkey legs are popular at the San Diego County Fair.
Turkey legs are popular at the San Diego County Fair.
Chicken and waffles, fried Oreos, zucchini curls!
Chicken and waffles, fried Oreos, zucchini curls!
Gotta sit down my stomach is so full!
Gotta sit down my tummy is so full!

Is your stomach growling yet?

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Cool pics of fun times at San Diego County Fair.

Colorful whirling Wave Swinger in the Fun Zone !
Colorful whirling Wave Swinger in the Fun Zone !

The 2014 San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is bigger, crazier and more exciting than ever. If you want to enjoy a really fun time, go check it out! But expect huge crowds!

The theme this year is the Fab Fair, a commemoration of the fifty year anniversary of the Beatles coming to America. Prepare to relive the 60’s in ways you’d never imagine!

On a lark I rode the Coaster from downtown up to Del Mar for the big Opening Day. I didn’t have any sort of plan; I just walked about the fairgrounds randomly the way I often do. But I did discover and photograph lots of cool stuff!

Would you like to see some pics? Let’s start at the West Gate and begin our walk through the enormous Fun Zone…

Make a pool shot and win a stuffed one-eyed Minion!
Make a pool shot and win a stuffed one-eyed Minion!
Persuasive carny almost convinces me to throw ring at duck.
Persuasive carny almost convinces me to throw a ring at a duck.
Gazing up at ride in San Diego County Fair's Fun Zone.
Gazing up at ride in San Diego County Fair’s Fun Zone.
The wacky Fun House lures fair-goers and one photo-taker.
The wacky Fun House lures fair-goers and one curious photo-taker.
Now we're near the Del Mar Fairgrounds Grandstand.
Now we’re near the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds Grandstand.
Ms. Senior Nevada performs on the Plaza Stage.
Ms. Senior Nevada performs on the Plaza Stage.
Lots of crafts at the Design in Wood exhibition.
Lots of crafts at the Design in Wood exhibition.

Now we’ve headed inside a building adjacent to the Del Mar Racetrack’s big Grandstand. There is also a dazzling Gems, Minerals and Jewelry exhibition which is well worth checking out.

Master woodworker demonstrates planing skills.
Master woodworker demonstrates planing skills.
Student Showcase contains art by high school students.
Student Showcase contains art by high school students.

Many of the fair’s exhibits were in the large Grandstand building. Displays of art, food, clothing, collectibles, and everything imaginable filled several floors.  It all had been entered by creative San Diegans, with the hope of winning a blue ribbon.

Home and Hobby exhibition includes many Beatles collectibles.
Home and Hobby exhibition includes many Beatles collectibles.
Big crowd outside enjoys fair beneath the Skyway.
Big crowd outside enjoys fair beneath the Skyway.
Demonstrating a fancy vegetable peeler in Bing Crosby Hall.
Demonstrating a fancy vegetable peeler inside Bing Crosby Hall.

The huge Bing Crosby hall is where all sorts of odd gadgets and unique products are touted by eager salespeople!

Psychedelic VW Beetle at the outside Garden Show.
Psychedelic VW Beetle at the outside Garden Show.

The outdoor and indoor Garden Show is one of my favorite parts of the annual fair. There were many beautiful and creative landscape exhibits.

Cool little keyhole garden can be grown anywhere.
Cool little keyhole garden can be grown anywhere.
Fab Four include Paul, John, George and Ringo.
Fab Four include Paul, John, George and Ringo.
Fun, whimsical display at the popular Garden Show.
Fun, whimsical display at the popular Garden Show.
Lots of hippie-themed stuff to buy everywhere.
Lots of hippie-themed stuff to buy everywhere.
Here are the good old Footsie Wootsie machines!
Here are the good old Footsie Wootsie machines!

I remember these crazy machines at the fair when I was a kid, and that was many years ago!

Just inside the fair's O'Brien Gate main entrance.
Just inside the San Diego County Fair’s O’Brien Gate main entrance.
Man walks into the Fab Fair Experience.
Man walks into the Fab Fair Experience.
People pose to recreate old Beatles album cover.
People pose to recreate old Beatles album cover.
Lots of displays remember the British Invasion of the 60's.
Lots of displays remember the British Invasion of the 60’s.
Sign above the Livestock Barn.
Sign above the Livestock Barn.

Now let’s go check out some livestock. It’s the county fair, after all!

Judge scores llama in a ring near livestock barn.
Judge scores llama in a ring near livestock barn.
Young lady looks worried as she prepares to show her goat.
Young lady looks worried as she prepares to show her goat.
Sheep were being sheered in a smaller nearby barn.
Sheep were being sheered in a smaller nearby barn.
I missed the Swifty Swine pig racing event!
I missed the Swifty Swine pig racing event!
Rescue personnel perform demonstration in Del Mar Arena.
Rescue personnel perform demonstration in Del Mar Arena.
Back outside we discover a giant Florida gator.
Back outside we discover a giant Florida gator.
Wall of the Wyland Center has a cool whale mural.
Wall of the Wyland Center has a cool whale mural.

That whale and the underwater scene around it were painted by famed marine-life artist Wyland at the 2006 San Diego County Fair.

Cool photo of extremely popular 2014 San Diego County Fair.
Cool photo of extremely popular 2014 San Diego County Fair.
The giant Ferris wheel turns in the summer sky.
The giant Ferris wheel turns in the summer sky.

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Exciting start to San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon!

People arrive at dawn to participate in Rock 'n Roll Marathon.
People arrive at dawn to participate in Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.

I woke up very early this morning to check out the start of today’s big San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. I’d never been to the event in past years, so the magnitude of the race really floored me. The west part of Balboa Park and many blocks of Sixth Avenue were packed with super energetic humanity!

Here are a bunch of pics!

Dozens of UPS trucks served as the gear check.
Dozens of UPS trucks served as the gear check.
Marathon runners warm up in west Balboa Park.
Marathon runners warm up in west Balboa Park.
San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon corrals fill up.
San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon corrals begin to fill up.
Just minutes before the big marathon starts!
Just minutes before the big San Diego marathon starts!
Thousands are ready to race at Rock 'n Roll Marathon.
Thousands are ready to race at the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.
Athletes With disabilities are first to begin the race!
Athletes with disabilities are first to begin the race!
They're off from the start line!
They’re off from the start line!
Full marathon runners get ready to begin big race.
Full marathon runners get ready to begin their race for glory.
Lots of photographers record the race action.
Lots of photographers record the colorful action.
San Diego Rock 'n Roll full marathoners go!
San Diego Rock ‘n Roll full marathoners go!
Runners start up Sixth Avenue with great excitement.
Runners start up Sixth Avenue with great excitement.
Photos were being taken all over the place.
Photos were being taken all over the place.
Racers pass announcer stand and American flag.
Racers pass announcer stand, San Diego mayor and American flag.
Runners wave at Cameron of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Runners wave at Cameron of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
KUSI reporter Kerri Lane looks bored.
KUSI television reporter Kerri Lane between live shots.

And now I’m hungry for breakfast!  Walking back toward home, I snap a couple more photos!

Half marathoners gather into the corrals for their race.
Half marathoners gather into the corrals for their race.
Late arrivers walk up Sixth Avenue from downtown.
Late arrivers walk up Sixth Avenue from downtown.

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