Colorful photos of the Old Town Fall Festival!

A covered wagon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is decorated with fall colors in October.
A covered wagon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is decorated with autumn colors.

After walking a bit downtown, I took the trolley up to Old Town to enjoy the colorful Fall Festival!

I never tire of the wonderful events that can be found almost every weekend at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

Kids at the Old Town Fall Festival learn to make art with colored beans!
Kids at the Old Town Fall Festival learn to make art with colored beans!
Later in the day folks at this table would demonstrate how to make applesauce.
Later in the day folks at this table would demonstrate how to make applesauce.
Making environmentally friendly bird feeders using corn cobs, peanut butter and seeds.
Making environmentally friendly bird feeders using corn cobs, peanut butter and seeds.
Folks young and old were trying their hand at making corn husk dolls.
Folks young and old were trying their hand at making corn husk dolls.
Lady with old-fashioned parasol walks through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's Plaza de las Armas.
Lady with old-fashioned parasol walks through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s central Plaza de las Armas.
Colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest frame the Welcome in an Old Town shop window.
Colorful leaves and a bountiful harvest frame the Welcome in an Old Town shop window.
A smiling señorita walks near some pumpkins.
A smiling señorita walks near some pumpkins.
An elaborate Día de los Muertos decoration standing beside the Fiesta de Reyes stage is bright with autumn colors.
An elaborate Día de los Muertos decoration standing beside the Fiesta de Reyes stage is bright with fall colors.
A flower-filled wheelbarrow in front of Seeley Stable.
A flower-filled wheelbarrow in front of Seeley Stable.
Ceramic pumpkins line shelves at an outdoor Old Town marketplace.
Ceramic pumpkins line shelves at an outdoor Old Town marketplace.
Ladies work on a quilt inside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center.
Ladies work on a quilt inside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center.
Kid learns how to plant seeds in front of the Wells Fargo History Museum.
Kid learns how to plant seeds in front of the Wells Fargo History Museum.
A Wells Fargo chest full of golden treasure!
A Wells Fargo chest full of golden treasure!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Festive culture and tradition at Fiestas Patrias!

Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.
Every year, Fiestas Patrias, which celebrates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, includes traditional entertainment for the entire family.

This morning I missed a bus to Ocean Beach at the Old Town Transit Center, so to pass the time I walked the short distance over to the State Park to see if anything was going on. And I discovered that Fiestas Patrias was being celebrated today!

I lingered for a few minutes and took some photos, headed over to OB (as you will see), then returned to Old Town a couple hours later to really soak in the event. Fiestas Patrias is a yearly celebration of Mexican independence from Spain in 1821. San Diego, a small town founded near a Spanish presidio in Alta California, thereafter became a part of Mexico until 1848.

Many diverse traditions have intermingled during San Diego’s history to make our city what it is today. The rich and colorful culture of Mexico has remained an essential part of life in San Diego!

A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego.
A mariachi welcomes visitors to the historic Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
A friendly horse came for a visit as I took some photos outside the Casa de Estudillo during Fiestas Patrias.
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza's main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
Traditional dances were being performed on the central plaza’s main stage. Las damas y los caballeros took turns being el toro and el matador!
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
The annual event features authentic costumes from a time when San Diego was a small Mexican town in Alta California.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
Kids were decorating traditional cascarones eggshells.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
A demonstration inside the Casa de Estudillo of yarn being spun. During the Spanish period, sheep were first introduced along with cattle and horses at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
Nearby, ladies were demonstrating Colcha Spanish Colonial embroidery, which was typical in San Diego in the early 1800s.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
At the same table, another lady was cutting out festive Mexican papel picado.
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!
The historically authentic musical group Los Californios wait for their turn on the stage at Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

Tampa Chargers huddle up during the 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers huddle up during the 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy. Photo by Margie Jones.

An important event in San Diego history took place over the Labor Day weekend. It involved a firefighter hero who saved lives during 9/11, his two sons, and the game of stickball.

The following inspirational article is contributed by Margie Jones of 4 Heroes 4 Life:

The 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy was one of the largest in its 19 year history with a field of 16 teams, four from New York and one from Tampa Bay, Florida. New York transplant Bob Ortiz and a group of players brought the Bronx-style tradition of street baseball to California in the early 1990s, later passing the torch to brothers Louie and Joey Centanni.

This year’s tournament held a special meaning for the San Diego and New York stickball communities, bringing the return of Skylar and Austin Mercado, sons of former Emperor’s Stickball League President Steve Mercado. Mercado and his family brought the team to San Diego from the Bronx in 2001 when the boys were 6 and 2 years old. The Mercado family made a lasting impression on many San Diegans, including SD City Firefighter and Stickball League Commissioner Willie Blas and Fire Marshal Mark George. After saying their goodbyes, Steve returned to NYC and went straight to work on 9/11, courageously saving lives. He was one of 12 of 13 from Engine 40 and Ladder 35 to lose their lives on that day, along with over 400 NYC first responders.

This weekend, Skylar and Austin Mercado brought the legacy of their Dad and Grandfather to Stickball in San Diego. Their team, the Tampa Chargers, was undefeated going into the Championship Game on Monday but could not best the local Sultans of Swat, who took home the trophy this year. We hope the Mercados experienced the outpouring of love and support for these two fine young men, their family, and the entire NYC community of heroes.

So that Steve and all heroes on that day will be NEVER FORGOTTEN, Mark and Willie as sponsored by 4 Heroes 4 Life and Veteran Adventures will be hosting a 9/11 NEVER FORGOTTEN Charity Golf Tournament and Community Extravaganza on September 11. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Steven Mercado Foundation, and funds for Engine 40 and Ladder 35, and the NYC Emergency Fund. This is the first of an annual event on 9/11 as an opportunity to bring community together in support of our fallen heroes and for our nation’s healing. Please join us. Register or donate here.

Commemorative bat honoring 9/11 firefighter Steve Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Commemorative bat honoring 9/11 firefighter Steve Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers' Austin Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers’ Austin Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers' Skylar Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers’ Skylar Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Power hitting. Photo by Margie Jones.
Swinging with heart on a San Diego street. Photo by Margie Jones.
2017 Championship Game final score. Photo by Margie Jones.
2017 Championship Game final score. Photo by Margie Jones.
Stickball family. Photo by Margie Jones.
Stickball brings many together. Photo by Margie Jones.

Volunteers needed at San Diego Habitat for Humanity!

San Diego Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers, in neighborhoods all around San Diego.
San Diego Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers, in neighborhoods all around San Diego.

During my visit to the Imperial Avenue Street Festival, I checked out the San Diego Habitat for Humanity table. And I learned volunteers are needed for a variety of possible activities around San Diego.

One can work at their ReStore home improvement retail warehouses in Escondido, Mission Valley or National City. Or one can help build new homes. Or one can participate in neighborhood revitalization projects.

A flyer that I read explains how Habitat for Humanity provides repair services to homeowners in Logan Heights! I took a photo! (I also see the website address on the flyer pictured above is incorrect. Use my link below.)

No experience necessary! Click here to learn more!

San Diego Habitat for Humanity provides repair services to homeowners in Logan Heights!
San Diego Habitat for Humanity provides repair services to homeowners in Logan Heights!
Volunteers for San Diego Habitat for Humanity are all smiles!
Volunteers for San Diego Habitat for Humanity are all smiles!

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!

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

Getting ready for 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

Putting sand into wooden forms, preparing to make sand sculptures that will welcome visitors to the Broadway Pier!
Putting sand into wooden forms, preparing to make sand sculptures that will welcome visitors to the Broadway Pier!

Look what I spotted during my walk along the Embarcadero after work today! Preparations are underway for the big 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge which takes place this coming Labor Day Weekend!

As you can see, sand is being put into large wooden forms at the base of the Broadway Pier. I learned from a friendly guy scooping sand that the competing sculptures will actually be created inside the Broadway Pier’s Port Pavilion! (In past years they were outside, along the south edge of the nearby B Street Pier.)

I also see that this year, outside on the Broadway Pier, there will be all sorts of food, cool “dimensional art” and live music, much like the past events.

Finally, I learned that the three sand sculptures just getting started today will welcome visitors to the Broadway Pier. One sculpture will depict the USS Midway and Star of India. Another has something to do with LEGOs. A third will promote MTS, San Diego’s public transit system.

I’m getting excited! The best sand artists in the world will be here next weekend! I’m going! It will be cool to see their masterpieces!

The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge is coming to San Diego's Broadway Pier during Labor Day Weekend!
The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge is coming to San Diego’s Broadway Pier during Labor Day Weekend!
Meanwhile, this afternoon during my walk, I saw some folks enjoying the pier, watching two harbor cruise ships coming in from the bay.
Meanwhile, this afternoon during my walk, I saw some folks enjoying the pier, watching two harbor cruise ships coming in from the bay.
This friendly guy told me there will be three sand sculptures here at the base of the pier. The competing sand sculptures will actually be created inside the Port Pavilion this year!
This friendly guy told me there will be three sand sculptures here at the base of the pier. The competing sand sculptures will actually be created inside the Port Pavilion this year!
Quarry sand mixed with water will be compacted, and then carved into some cool sculptures during the coming week!
Quarry sand mixed with water will be compacted, and then carved here into three cool sculptures during the coming week! Stay tuned!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

A perfect summer Sunday in Balboa Park.

Musicians entertain Balboa Park visitors at the House of Hungary's festive lawn program.
Musicians entertain Balboa Park visitors at the House of Hungary’s festive lawn program.

Another perfect summer Sunday. I found myself once again in Balboa Park. This afternoon, there was no better place in the world.

Please enjoy some photos…

A warm summer afternoon. A man and his dog rest beneath a dinosaur near the San Diego Natural History Museum.
It’s a warm summer afternoon. A man and his dog rest beneath a dinosaur near the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Sunshine on the south side of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
Sunshine on the south side of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet had a Fairy Tale Village set up today in the Casa del Prado's outer courtyard.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet had a Fairy Tale Village set up today in the Casa del Prado’s outer courtyard.
The laps of two Western characters await people with tired feet in Spanish Village Art Center.
The laps of two Western characters await people with tired feet in Spanish Village Art Center.
Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture at the west end of the Casa de Balboa, photographed from El Prado.
Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture at the west end of the Casa de Balboa, photographed from El Prado.
People walk past ornate arches connecting the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
People walk past ornate arches connecting the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Looking through one of those arches at cool greenery between the two historic buildings.
Looking through one of those arches at cool greenery between the two historic buildings.
Folks walk down toward the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
Folks walk down toward the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
A beautiful view few visitors see. Part of the rear of the House of Hospitality and nearby Casa de Balboa.
A beautiful view few visitors see. Part of the rear of the House of Hospitality and nearby Casa de Balboa.
Flowers beside outdoor dining at The Prado at Balboa Park.
Flowers beside outdoor dining at The Prado at Balboa Park.
A tranquil and shady place to sit on a summer day in the Japanese Friendship Garden. I worked for a while on a short story here.
A tranquil and shady place to sit in the Japanese Friendship Garden. I worked for a while on a short story here.
The Sunday afternoon lawn program today at the International Cottages was put on by the House of Hungary.
The Sunday afternoon lawn program today at the International Cottages was put on by the House of Hungary.
Hungarian sausage and crepes were being prepared at one end of the lawn!
Hungarian sausage and crepes were being prepared at one end of the lawn!
I confess I had a tasty sausage with lots of mustard on a delectable roll of bread. But those crepes do look good.
I confess I had a tasty sausage with lots of mustard on a delectable roll of bread. But those crepes do look good. I’ll try one next year.
Ladies play cards on the grass at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Ladies play cards on the grass at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Folks sit under the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade and listen to a free Sunday performance. Four finalists are auditioning to become San Diego's new Civic Organist.
Folks sit under the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade and listen to the free Sunday performance. Four finalists are auditioning to become San Diego’s new Civic Organist.
Looking beyond the fountain in front of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Looking beyond the fountain in front of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Riding a bike through Balboa Park on a perfect summer Sunday.
Riding a bike through Balboa Park on a perfect summer Sunday afternoon.
A banner by door to the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Enjoy every little bit of summer.
A banner by door to the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Enjoy every little bit of summer.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Friday food trucks and fun in Balboa Park!

People stroll down El Prado, checking out a variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.
People stroll down El Prado, checking out a huge variety of gourmet food trucks on a late Friday afternoon.

If you haven’t been to Food Truck Friday in Balboa Park, you’re missing out!

Not only is there all sorts of yummy food, but there is grass to picnic on and live music and juggling and hula hoops and checkers and crafts for the kids and colorful flowers and splashing fountains and amazing architecture and smiles and . . . I could go on and on! And the museums are open late, too!

Balboa Park’s special magic adds spice to an already tasty meal!

Balboa Park Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama.
Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday promises yummy eats and fun through September in the Plaza de Panama and along the length of El Prado.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a fun and festive dinner.
Feasting on the grass in sunny Balboa Park. Food Truck Fridays is the place to be for a festive family-friendly dinner.
Kenny Shelton the friendly juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
Kenny Shelton the awesome juggler was getting warmed up. He and other entertainers can be found throughout the park.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
A beautiful photo of the Plaza de Panama, its fountain, flowers, and the sunlit House of Hospitality during Food Truck Friday.
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
If you live in San Diego, this giant checkerboard and these hula hoops are waiting for you!
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
Musicians were playing under the Balboa Park Conservancy canopy near the Plaza de Panama fountain.
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where kids could paint pictures of trains!
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum had a table in the plaza where young kids could apply dots of paint to fun trains!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own fun table where kids could be creative!
And nearby, Spanish Village Art Center had their own cool table where kids could be creative!
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate...
I spotted a Puppet Shows sign traveling through the plaza. So naturally I had to investigate…
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park is now presenting The Little Mermaid! A pelican puppet says hello and invites you all to the show!
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego's always amazing Balboa Park.
A truly Happy Friday in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!