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!

Huge catch of fish arrives in San Diego!

Fresh opah is prepared on the fishing vessel Pacific Horizon docked at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market!
Fresh opah is prepared on the fishing vessel Pacific Horizon docked at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Look what I happened upon during my walk this morning! The fishing vessel Pacific Horizon was unloading a huge catch of opah and bigeye tuna at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market!

I lingered to watch some of the fascinating 2017 Opahthon action!

Opahthon 2017 was held this morning on San Diego's Embarcadero at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market!
Opahthon 2017 was held this morning on San Diego’s Embarcadero at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
A crowd had gathered around the Pacific Horizon to watch a bustle of activity.
A crowd had gathered around the Pacific Horizon to watch a bustle of activity.
Guys were cleaning fish caught 800-1200 miles off San Diego in the Pacific Ocean--halfway to Hawaii! The Pacific Horizon is back after one month of fishing.
Guys were cleaning fish caught 800-1200 miles off San Diego in the Pacific Ocean–halfway to Hawaii! The Pacific Horizon is back after one month of fishing.
A curious dog on deck watches the action!
A curious dog on deck watches the action!
The guys are now filleting bigeye tuna, which were caught along with the opah. More bigeye tuna are being hoisted onto the pier!
The guys are now filleting bigeye tuna, which were caught along with the opah. More bigeye tuna are being hoisted onto the pier!
Some of the whole fish are put into large coolers.
Some of the whole fish are put into large coolers.
Working hard to prepare your tasty seafood meal!
Working hard to prepare your tasty seafood meal!
The cutting table was frequently hosed off.
The cutting table was frequently hosed off.
Lots of ice was shoveled into the coolers.
Lots of ice was shoveled into the coolers.
Today the Pacific Horizon brought an amazing haul of fish to San Diego!
Today the Pacific Horizon brought an amazing haul of fish to San Diego!
More bigeye tuna! These might be going to a restaurant near you!
More bigeye tuna! These might be going to a restaurant near you!

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!

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!

Team of Santas urges kids to eat healthy food!

Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity pose for the judges in the Uniform Contest at 2017 OTL. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity pose for the judges in the Uniform Contest at 2017 OTL. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

People playing Over The Line on Fiesta Island today had to be blinking their eyes. They didn’t just see Santa Claus striding across the sand–they saw a whole team of jolly Santas!

Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity is competing this year in the OMBAC World Championship Over The Line Tournament in San Diego! And they’re spreading the important message that kids should eat healthy, nutritious food!

The unique team of Santas is organized by “Sustainable Santa” Richard Eckfield, and its members were observed this morning parading around the island handing out carrots and talking about the dangers of processed, sugary junk food and the rise of childhood obesity. Supported by several sponsors and the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, their mission is simply to promote healthy eating habits for children. “Healthy, Happy and Fit for Life!”

Members of Real Santas United to End Childhood Obesity can also be seen from time to time at farmers markets across San Diego County. They encourage children to eat real, honest-to-goodness wholesome food.

Will they win the OTL Camummy Division this year? I don’t know. I do know these Santas have a winning message!

You might like to follow the Santa & Mrs Claus for Healthy Children Facebook page!

Unlike most presents unwrapped at Christmas, good health is a gift that will last a long, merry, magical lifetime!

Kristin Francy, Miss Emerson in 2015, and a team of sporty Santas at the Over The Line World Championship tournament in San Diego. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Kristin Francy, Miss Emerson in 2015, and a team of sporty Santas at the Over The Line World Championship tournament in San Diego. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Photo of Baseball Santa Bill Swank and Richard “Sustainable Santa” Eckfield at the Linda Vista Farmers Market last December. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Photo of Baseball Santa Bill Swank and Richard “Sustainable Santa” Eckfield at the Linda Vista Farmers Market last December. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Front and back of cards that Sustainable Santa hands out at farmers markets throughout San Diego County. (Click to enlarge.) Image courtesy Bill Swank.
Front and back of cards that Sustainable Santa hands out at farmers markets throughout San Diego County. (Image courtesy Bill Swank.)
Baseball Santa Swank holds up carrots which the Real Santas United hand out to kids instead of sugary candy canes. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Baseball Santa Swank holds up carrots which the Real Santas United hand out to kids instead of sugary candy canes. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

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Buy tasty salsa and help homeless Veterans!

Buy some tasty Military Salsa and help those who've served in the military transition back to civilian life.
Buy some tasty Military Salsa and help those who’ve served in the military transition back to civilian life.

The nonprofit Welcome Home Soldier Foundation had a tent at yesterday’s Mariachi Festival.  I learned their mission is to help those who’ve served in the military make the sometimes difficult transition back to civilian life. They have a very important project called Operation Sleeping Bag. They are providing homeless Veterans with sleeping bags.

Do you like to add tasty salsa to chips, tacos or breakfast burritos? The Welcome Home Soldier Foundation produces Military Salsas. The salsas come in many flavors, mild to hot, and the proceeds go to support this organization’s charitable work.

You can buy the salsas (and chips) online here! (Scroll down the page and you’ll see them.)

Sounds like a tasty, generous way to help Veterans who’d appreciate a helping hand!

Jars and bottles of salsa--from mild to spicy!
Jars and bottles of salsa–from mild to spicy!
Banner explains mission of the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Operation Sleeping Bag helps homeless Veterans.
Banner explains mission of the nonprofit Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Operation Sleeping Bag helps homeless Veterans.

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

Photos of the amazing Cherry Blossom Festival!

Walking through a profusion of pink flowers at the Japanese Friendship Garden during the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park.
Walking through a profusion of pink flowers at the Japanese Friendship Garden during the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park.

Wow! Here come photos of the amazing annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which is taking place this weekend at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

I recommend a visit! You’ll see lots of jaw-dropping beauty, devour lots of yummy food, and enjoy many fun and fascinating aspects of Japanese culture.

If you shy away from crowds, it’s probably best to arrive in the morning just as the festival opens. This event becomes more and more popular every year!

Tomorrow–Sunday–the festival is open from 10am to 6pm.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place all weekend. If you're in San Diego and you read this blog in time, make sure to go!
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place all weekend. If you’re in San Diego and you read this blog in time, make sure to go!
Japanese art, gifts and crafts can be found all around the garden during the festival.
Japanese art, gifts and crafts can be found all around the garden during the festival.
Many people gravitate toward the covered patio near the koi pond.
Many people gravitate toward the covered patio near the koi pond.
Colorful koi, symbols of longevity in Japan.
Colorful koi, symbols of longevity in Japan.
Some attending the Cherry Blossom Festival try their hand at the ancient game of Go.
Some attending the Cherry Blossom Festival try their hand at the ancient game of Go.
The strategic game of Go originated in China over 2500 years ago. Boards for the Japanese version are often prized for their beauty.
The strategic game of Go originated in China over 2500 years ago. Boards for the Japanese version are often prized for their beauty.
Some super smiles at this table!
Some super smiles at this table!
Gazing beyond the beautiful Light of Friendship at many vendor tents during the festival of cherry blossoms.
Gazing beyond the beautiful Light of Friendship at many vendor tents during the festival of cherry blossoms.
Lots of fun Japanese stuff is for sale at the event.
Lots of fun Japanese stuff is for sale at the event.
Yoshi's Jams are completely organic! So was that smile!
Yoshi’s Jams are completely organic! So was that smile!
This cool guy had genuine samurai swords for sale.
This cool guy had genuine samurai swords for sale.
Some ladies at one table were demonstrating Japanese brush painting. A special exhibition in Balboa Park's Casa del Prado will take place March 25 and 26.
Some ladies at one table were demonstrating Japanese brush painting. A special exhibition in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado will take place March 25 and 26.
Exquisite Japanese artwork created by a careful, inspired hand.
Exquisite Japanese artwork created by a careful, inspired hand.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate and toward the Lower Garden, where most of the blossoming cherry trees await.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate and toward the Lower Garden, where most of the blossoming cherry trees await.
We descend into beauty.
We descend into beauty.
Walking into heaven.
Walking into heaven.
Spring cherry blossoms line the walkways and the gentle stream that runs through the garden's canyon.
Spring cherry blossoms line the walkways and the gentle stream that runs through the Lower Garden.
A purple parasol and pink flowers.
A purple parasol and pink flowers.
Lots of food could be found around the Inamori Pavilion. These guys were preparing Okonomiyaki--yummy Japanese pancakes.
Lots of food could be found around the Inamori Pavilion. These guys were preparing Okonomiyaki–yummy Japanese pancakes.
Inside the Inamori Pavilion, a variety of marionettes are on display. The Edo Marionettes will perform at the Japanese Friendship Garden on April 30.
Inside the Inamori Pavilion, a variety of marionettes are on display. The Edo Marionettes will perform at the Japanese Friendship Garden on April 30.
I was drawn to these tents in the garden, where there was even more food!
I was drawn to these tents in the sun-splashed garden, where there was even more food!
Preparing Taiyaki, Japanese fish-shaped cakes.
Preparing Taiyaki–Japanese fish-shaped cakes.
I'd never eaten Taiyaki before, and it was really good!
I’d never eaten Taiyaki before, and it was really good!
But, of course, the Japanese cherry trees are the star of the show. Crowds walk through bursts of pink flowers and enjoy the green grass.
But, of course, the Japanese cherry trees are the star of the show. Crowds walk through bursts of pink flowers and rest on the green grass.
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park enjoy the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park enjoy the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

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 might enjoy reading my new short story The Child and the Koi.

Watch processing through a window at Chesapeake Fish!

Worker inside the processing window at Chesapeake Fish packages fresh local catch. Their seafood products are used by nearby restaurants and shipped around the world.
Worker inside the processing window at Chesapeake Fish packages fresh local catch. Their seafood products are used by nearby restaurants and shipped around the world.

Millons of pounds of fish are processed at San Diego’s Chesapeake Fish Company every year. The dock where local fishermen unload their fresh catch is just steps away.

Most visitors to San Diego’s Embarcadero don’t realize they can actually watch freshly caught fish being processed. Just north of Seaport Village, a window invites tourists and passersby to watch the fish cleaning and packaging operation. The friendly workers will even hold up the fish for photographs and sometimes wave!

The processing room is refrigerated, but this morning I still managed to get some decent photos through the thick, fogged, drippy glass window…

If you see this sign just north of Seaport Village, take a look into the big window. Workers inside might be cleaning fish caught off San Diego!
If you see this sign just north of Seaport Village, take a look into the big window. Workers inside might be cleaning fish caught in the ocean off San Diego!
Near the processing window of Chesapeake Fish Co. is the small dock where fishermen unload their catch. Beyond is Tuna Harbor, full of commercial fishing boats.
Near the processing window of Chesapeake Fish Co. is the small dock where fishermen unload their catch. Beyond is Tuna Harbor, full of commercial fishing boats.
A worker holds up some fish for my camera!
A worker holds up a de-boned fish for my camera!
I believe these are the bones, heads and inedible parts that are removed from the fish during the cleaning operation.
I believe these are the bones, heads and inedible parts that are removed from the fish during the cleaning operation.
Two workers get dinner ready for seafood lovers!
Two workers get dinner ready for seafood lovers!

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!