Listening to a Symphony rehearsal at The Shell.

Wonder.

Elation.

Ecstasy.

What word best describes an extraordinary experience that is free to music lovers in San Diego?

When the San Diego Symphony rehearses at The Shell at Embarcadero Marina Park South, anybody can sit mere feet away from the musicians. Just walk on up and take any seat. And listen. You’ll hear some of the finest music ever composed, played by a world-class symphony orchestra.

Sit close and feel the thunder!

This morning I sat in front of The Shell and felt the power of music wash through me, while I enjoyed the sunshine, the gleaming downtown skyline, and boats of every kind sailing by on San Diego Bay.

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!

Scenes from La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW!

This evening I watched a stirring performance. I and many others enjoyed the La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW event at Liberty Station.

What did I see?

I saw soulful singing and dancing that stems from a shared history of suffering and endurance.

I saw joy that rises from the heart–a triumph of the spirit.

I saw how bubbles are like aspects of life–and like life itself. Mysterious, beautiful, soaring . . . short-lived. A beginning and an ending. Like memories.

I, too, wondered why we have an impulse to chase bubbles.

I saw a fable about a giant who wanted power over everything.

Until he saw the beauty of bubbles and learned wisdom.

I saw individuals repeatedly asking “Can I?”

They make one clumsy attempt after another, slowly gaining ability, gaining confidence, until they venture out into this sometimes scary world.

Meeting others, overcoming their fear, the question becomes “Can WE?”

What I observed was life.

You can watch it tomorrow if you’d like, too. Click here to learn about the Sunday performances. It’s free!

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!

Arts in the Park at Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival!

Chula Vista’s annual Lemon Festival has returned!

This year, the festival is primarily taking place in Memorial Park, where families can enjoy Arts in the Park. A full day of entertainment is scheduled for the big stage, and artist booths abound. The event is produced by the people of OnStage Playhouse, which is a community theatre located in Chula Vista.

I enjoyed the first hour or so of the festival, which included an inspiring dance performance as you’ll see in the upcoming photos!

Lots of family fun can be enjoyed at Arts in the Park during the 2021 Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
Artes en el Parque includes music, dance, and an evening performance by the Fern Street Circus!
A familiar piratical smile. I believe I’ve spotted it during past Comic-Cons!
A smiling mermaid!
Volunteers from Arts in the Park pose for a photo!
Students from Chula Vista Learning Community Charter Middle School were making art! And the community joined them!
Painting our beautiful Earth.
A String of Stories at one of the school’s tables is about Sharing in Community.
Unidos por la paz. United for peace.
I took some photos as I waited in Memorial Park’s amphitheater for the entertainment on stage to begin.
The helpful Honda people came by and offered me a water bottle! Thank you!

Do you know anyone who could use a helping hand? Check out the San Diego Honda Dealers “Random Acts of Helpfulness” web page here. Maybe they’ll provide some assistance! I hope so!

Okay! The program begins with a couple of short speeches…

Ashley Gardner from OnStage Playhouse is introduced. She was instrumental in organizing this great event. Hopefully it becomes a long-lived community summer tradition!

Then the entertainment begins!

An amazing, super positive and energetic hip hop dance group from Steele Canyon High School takes the stage! They’re the Club Groove Dance Team!

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!

Mariachis perform at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park was filled this evening with uplifting music. Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista performed in front of a large crowd!

Lively traditional Mexican music turned this free Twilight in the Park Summer Concert into a special, memorable event. Many families filled the pavilion benches. There was much clapping and singing along with popular songs.

An elderly man behind me sang words he knew by heart joyfully. So did a very young boy sitting next to him.

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!

Ramona Country Fair’s gateway to adventure!

Today I headed to the annual Ramona Country Fair and stepped through their gateway to adventure!

In addition to lots of friendly people and a fun slice of Americana, what did I find?

At the Ramona Country Fair, which is held each summer in rural San Diego County, there is plenty of adventure! And it’s free!
Young and old were trying to shoot bows and arrows, just as folks did once upon a time.
I was greeted by a smiling medieval archer! I declined to pick up a bow. I’m bound to shoot myself in the foot.
Members of The Sovereign Kingdom of Terre Neuve, a subdivision of The Adrian Empire, had gathered at the Ramona Country Fair. Perhaps they arrived by time machine. But seriously, this friendly group recreates Western European culture between the First Viking Raid on Lindisfarne in 793 to the death of King James I of England in 1625.
Chain mail, steel helmets, swords and other instruments from the Age of Chivalry displayed on one table.
A demonstration of medieval combat fascinates those watching.
Getting a bit more intense…
That was a close call!
Meanwhile, adventurous shoppers had much to explore on the grounds of the Ramona Country Fair.
These super friendly folks from the California Avian Health Education Network were informing the community about prevention, early detection, and rapid containment of foreign animal diseases. They also had to endure a couple of my awful chicken jokes.
Artists had their work for sale at the fair. I spotted a cool Yoda created by Boyd’s Crafts!
These two cool guys represented Triple B Adventures, an organization that takes Veterans, including wounded warriors, on hikes, campouts and other adventures around San Diego County.
It’s the 50th Annual Ramona Country Fair as you can see from their poster! Entries into the fair’s art show were displayed nearby.
Some tape prevented my closer approach, but you can see these are winning art entries!
Talk about a gastronomical adventure! Super Burritos. Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. Decisions, decisions…
The Ramona Chamber of Commerce, who puts the annual fair together, greeted me!
Love Ramona is a bunch of friends and neighbors who do good deeds in the community. They began as a local church group.
And, of course, what is a country fair without a huge Fun Zone! I couldn’t believe all the carnival rides. I was told it really gets active later in the day, and in the evening when the outdoor temperature cools. (It was in the 90’s during my late morning visit!)
Look at all the fun prizes!
This four-legged fair-goer was having more fun than some of the two-legged types.
Folks were bringing in horses for the noontime Cowboy Challenge. I’m afraid I didn’t stay for that. Places to go. Things to do.
A good photo caught by sheer chance.
Folks get the arena ready for cowboy action!

Not only did I miss the Cowboy Challenge, but I was disappointed that the Irish Dancing in the fairground’s pavilion had been cancelled for Sunday. Oh, well. I guess that means a future adventure awaits!

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!

Celebrating the trolley’s 40th Anniversary!

Thank you all for transporting me around the city, and for your friendly waves! I’ve loved trains since I was a kid!

A special public event was held today at the E Street trolley station in Chula Vista. The 40th Anniversary of the San Diego Trolley was celebrated!

A big crowd turned out to enjoy free entertainment, food and drink, and booths with transit information. As one might expect, there were also short speeches by city dignitaries, including representatives of the Metropolitan Transit System.

San Diego’s “first” 1981 trolley car–Number 1001–was parked on one of the station’s tracks, right next to several more recent, advanced trolley cars. Good old “1001” is now one of the cars that loop through downtown as part of the Silver Line. (I was told today the Silver Line will be resuming operation next week!)

Back in the 80’s, the first trolleys ran from downtown San Diego to the San Ysidro border crossing. Today, three major lines cover much of the city, and the Blue Line’s Mid-Coast Extension to Mission Bay and La Jolla is scheduled to open in just a few months!

It was interesting to hear in one speech how the trolley might one day be wireless, or even autonomous. Technology is rapidly advancing. It will be fascinating to see what the future brings!

As a very frequent rider of public transit, thank you MTS! If anyone reading my blog wonders how I spy interesting new things, it’s often by looking out a trolley or bus window!

MTS CEO Sharon Cooney addresses the crowd during the 40th Anniversary of the San Diego Trolley. The audience was very enthusiastic!
After the speeches, there was exciting breakdancing!
If one waited in line for a short while, there were oodles of free treats!
The two most recent models of trolley cars at the E Street Station. The 4000’s and 5000’s look pretty similar.
A car from 1981. This particular car, looking very shiny, now transports people around downtown on the Silver Line, along with a couple of older vintage PCC streetcars.

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!

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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!

Read books this summer, win free prizes!

Do you love to read? This summer you can win all sorts of free prizes simply for reading!

The San Diego Public Library’s 2021 Virtual Summer Reading Program is underway! Children, teens and adults can sign up! By reading or completing a variety of fun activities, you earn badges, which can be redeemed for prizes!

Prizes include passes for the San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and The New Children’s Museum. Or yummy food at Panda Express. Or a book full of crossword puzzles, sudokus and word finds. Or a bonus bundle of comic books!

You’ll also be entered into a Grand Prize raffle drawing! (I don’t know what the Grand Prize is, but I’m sure it’s awesome!)

I was walking through Chicano Park this morning, waiting for the big Danza event to begin, when I met these smiling ladies representing the library. They told me about the summer literacy program, which is called Reading Colors Your World.

If you or someone you know might like to participate, better sign up now, because the program ends on August 31, 2021.

Visit the City of San Diego web page concerning this Summer Reading Program by clicking here!

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!

Kids join the circus in City Heights!

Do you know any kids who’d like to join the circus?

Listen up!

Kids between 6 and 17 years old who live in City Heights are invited to join the circus!

The Fern Street Circus is offering a free after-school circus program at their new Outdoor Community Center at 4108 University Avenue!

Those who participate can learn tightwire, juggling, acrobatics and clowning. They’ll gain confidence, make new friends, learn to work as a team and have a ton of fun!

Why spend the summer doing the same old ordinary thing when you can actually join the circus!

How do you learn more about this very cool program? You visit the Fern Street Circus website by clicking here!

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!