National Carousel Day in Balboa Park!

Everyone got a free ride on the Balboa Park Carousel today! That’s because it’s National Carousel Day!

Lots of excited kids and families were waiting for their ride on the historic carousel when I walked by. Every year on National Carousel Day people head to Balboa Park just for the special occasion!

The wonderful old carousel was built in 1910 by Herschell-Spillman Co. in North Tonawanda, New York. It ran for a few years in Luna Park, Los Angeles, then was moved to Coronado’s Tent City in 1913. In 1922 it was transported to Balboa Park where the Fleet Science Center is today. Finally it was moved to its present location near the San Diego Zoo in 1968.

Whenever I pause by the whirling carousel, I enjoy looking at the amazing carved animals, the carnival-like lights and mirrors, and the nostalgic art painted on passing panels. And I love listening to stirring music from the original band organ. I also gaze into a display case that contains historical information and artifacts concerning this special merry-go-round!

I’ve included two photos of the carousel being built back in 1910. Creating the carved animals required true artistry.

When beloved author Ray Bradbury turned a carousel into a time machine, I think he was onto something. Because whenever I ride one, I find that I’m a young boy again.

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!

Big gathering of Azteca dancers in Chicano Park!

A group of about a hundred Danza Azteca-Chichimeca dancers filled Chicano Park today with life and color and tradition and joy!

To the rhythmic beat of drums, strummed lutes and rattled gourds, families danced within and around Chicano Park’s central gazebo, or Kiosko.

I don’t know a whole lot about the Mexican Concheros ceremony and dance, other than it’s a fusion of pre-Hispanic and Christian symbols and rituals. You can learn more here.

Additional elements in today’s dance I believe come from San Diego’s local Native American Kumeyaay culture–including the blessing of participants with white sage smoke, which purifies minds and hearts. Please write a comment if I need correction.

I do know that the energy of the performers and the spirit that emanated from their dance was uplifting. Even as I kept a respectful distance, the infectious beat made me want to dance, too! Perhaps because a human heartbeat is a thing we all have in common.

I hope these photos do justice to what those watching and listening experienced.

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!

Big community celebration coming to Balboa Park!

There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.

An exciting community celebration will be held in Balboa Park at the end of July!

Everyone is invited to gather at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on the evening of Saturday, July 31, 2021 to enjoy this amazing free event, featuring notable performers from all around San Diego.

Participating in the celebration will be Opera4Kids, San Diego Civic Dance Arts, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Grupo Folklórico Sabor de México, San Diego Master Chorale accompanied by San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, and the fun Organ Pavilion Rock Band! The entertainment starts at 5:30 pm!

What is this big community celebration all about?

The reopening of San Diego after the pandemic!

Learn more by clicking here!

A very fun Tanabata Festival in San Diego!

The Tanabata Festival was held today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park!

This always fun festival included traditional Japanese kimonos, art, crafts, kids games, yummy food, the making of kokedama (Japanese moss balls) and other family activities.

Most importantly, visitors to the festival had the opportunity to write their own special wish!

Tanabata has its origin in a story about the Japanese deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, who shine in the heavens as stars. The Milky Way separates the two lovers who can only meet once a year. Tanabata is that day.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website here, “A common practice during Tanabata is to decorate the nanatsu kazari, or seven decorations…” Different types of ornaments are hung from bamboo trees to bring luck, skill, health or success.

I noticed many messages had already been hung. The hands of many at the festival wished for happiness in life!

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!

Inspiration at Timken Museum’s Creation Station!

A small but wonderful Creation Station can be enjoyed in front of the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park this summer!

While the world-class art museum undergoes its renovation, people walking along the construction fence in the Plaza de Panama can linger at the Creation Station and be inspired!

This afternoon I paused for a bit to watch Erick Toussaint (@sidewalk_chalk_dad) work on amazing chalk art that recreates a piece in the Timken’s collection. Then I looked at the fun chalk drawings by kids and families that passed by earlier this beautiful Sunday!

Erick will be recreating some of the fine art museum’s great masterpieces every other weekend through August. Check out the museum’s page concerning the Creation Station here. On the other weekends, family’s will help design a huge outdoor mural!

Today Erick was working on reproducing Nicolas de Largillière’s elegant Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, Wife of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil, 1729. His work on the gold frame alone is stunning! As you can see, I took photos at various stages of progress during the afternoon.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Lowriders gather for Chicano Park Vive!

Chicano Park Vive! is a series of festive events taking place this summer in Barrio Logan. Families and neighbors gather in Chicano Park for entertainment, cultural enrichment, food and fun. The community events promote “Healing, Educating and Leading.”

Today the theme was lowriders!

I arrived in the early afternoon and was wowed by all the cool vehicles displayed by several lowrider clubs. Dozens of amazing lowriders lined the street, well beyond Chicano Park.

Another simultaneous event, called the Viva La Frida celebration, was taking place along Logan Avenue, making the entire area feel like one huge party!

Chicano Park Vive! is brought to the community by the Turning Wheel Project, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, the Chicano Park Steering Committee, and The San Diego Foundation.

I noticed the Turning Wheel Project was featuring their mobile classroom, which I visited a couple years ago in Chula Vista. You can see what I discovered back then by clicking here!

Today I learned that the Director of The Turning Wheel Project, Alberto López Pulido, PhD, Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of San Diego, wrote a book concerning our city’s lowriders! It’s titled San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising. You can find that book here!

I was told by the professor himself that next Sunday about a hundred dancers will be performing at Chicano Park Vive! The theme will be danza. You can bet I’ll be there!

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Scripps Ranch 4th of July Parade!

Today’s Independence Day parade in Scripps Ranch was a colorful example of good old-fashioned Americana!

Neighbors came out for a patriotic community parade that wound along several residential streets.

Families sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk or under canopies on front lawns. Small flags were waved by many hands. As each parade entry passed by, rousing cheers erupted!

Politicians waved as they passed the crowd. Guys drove their red, white and blue decorated vintage cars by, wearing Uncle Sam hats. High school cheerleaders performed their routine for the parade judges. Local youth sport teams walked by holding up trophies. Little Leaguers pitched candy to the crowd. Scouts ambled by, some shy, others hamming it up. A church had a mobile pastor dunking booth. A waving, smiling group celebrated diversity. A local fitness group dropped down periodically to perform pushups on the street.

There were cheers for everybody.

What seemed most remarkable to me was how the many members of a large community can come together as one family.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Coronado 4th of July parade honors American heroes.

Coronado’s huge Independence Day parade returned this year! The parade’s theme for 2021 was A Salute To America’s Heroes.

Late this morning I walked along Orange Avenue and took photographs of the patriotic spectacle.

The 4th of July Parade was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroes honored in this year’s parade included healthcare workers, essential workers and ordinary Americans–all those who sacrificed to help our nation through a very difficult period.

I’ve blogged about this epic annual parade several times in the past, with photo captions that provide detailed information. Today I’ll simply offer a glimpse of what I experienced.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Mother’s Day in Balboa Park!

If there’s one place in San Diego that seems to be made for Mother’s Day, it’s Balboa Park.

I took these photographs today during my usual Sunday amble through the park.

Spring flowers were everywhere. The warm air seemed to shimmer with music.

Out enjoying their special day were many Moms with loved ones.

Smiles were plentiful.

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!

La Mesa Community Garden coming to MacArthur Park!

A community garden is coming to La Mesa!

I was walking through La Mesa’s spacious MacArthur park on Sunday when I saw a sign announcing the La Mesa Community Garden. So I directed my feet that way!

The garden, located off Memorial Drive near the La Mesa Municipal Pool, will be a place where local residents can grow their own healthy food and connect with nature and each other. The garden’s small building, which used to be the clubhouse of the now defunct Sun Valley Golf Course, features fun artwork and nearby picnic tables. The community garden occupies the old golf course’s putting green.

If you happen to live in La Mesa, you might want to check out the information contained in a couple of the upcoming photographs!

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!