Dogs have their day at 2014 Bark in Balboa Park.

Dogs and humans head toward Bark in Balboa Park.
Dogs and humans head toward the 2014 Bark in Balboa Park.

The Eighth Annual Bark in Balboa Park was a triumphant success this afternoon. Hundreds of furry, tail-wagging best friends got to join in the festivities, and nearly all become instantly famous. How does an ordinary, easy-going, everyday dog get 15 seconds of fame? You’re about to find out!

A few early arrivals at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
A few early arrivals at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Friendly pooch near Spreckels Organ Society donation box.
Friendly pooch near Spreckels Organ Society donation box.
Some furry attendees await the free dog-themed organ concert.
Some furry attendees await the free dog-themed organ concert.
San Diego Humane Society has volunteers at the event.
San Diego Humane Society has volunteers at the event.
Lovable dogs await adoption at Bark in the Park.
Lovable dogs await adoption at Bark in the Park.
Great dane takes a nap while a huge crowd gathers.
Great Dane takes a nap while a huge crowd gathers.
People and pooches enjoy the organ concert from the colonnade.
People and pooches enjoy the organ concert from the colonnade.
A baby stroller makes a prime seat for the big event.
A baby stroller makes a prime seat for the big event.
Activity is non-stop even during the fun concert.
Activity is non-stop even during the fun concert.
The unconditional love that dogs give.
The unconditional love that dogs give.
Spreckels Organ Society photographer hard at work.
Spreckels Organ Society photographer hard at work.
The eighth annual parade of dogs in front of the organ begins!
The eighth annual parade of dogs in front of the organ begins!
Dr. Carol Williams plays a march as pooches pass by.
Dr. Carol Williams plays a rousing Sousa march as pooches pass by.
This funny beagle was a real crowd pleaser.
This funny beagle was a real crowd pleaser.
A dainty dog in pink enjoys fame on the big stage.
A dainty dog in pink enjoys momentary fame on the big stage.

True believers line up to seek converts.

Child asks passersby if they are ready for death.
Child asks passersby if they are ready for death.

Balboa Park is a great place to see lots of street performers. It’s also a fine place to spot true believers. Lining El Prado on any given weekend, people who avidly believe in all sorts of religions, philosophies and political ideas hope to make converts of passersby. You can check out their posters and pamphlets, ask a question, or just walk on by. Being in southern California, it’s mostly laid back and good-natured.

I walked down El Prado yesterday and got a few pics:

Proselytizing in Balboa Park and argumentation.
Proselytizing in Balboa Park occasionally includes heated debate.
Muslims use Jesus to engage possible converts.
Muslims use Jesus to engage possible converts.
Atheists on El Prado make their case to tourists.
Atheists on El Prado make their case to passing tourists.
Scientologists with mysterious stress-detecting machines.
Scientologists with mysterious stress-detecting machines.
Hare Krishna advocates sit chanting their mantra.
Hare Krishna advocates sit chanting their mantra.

No urinating allowed at The Beer Company!

No urinating allowed at The Beer Company!
No urinating allowed at The Beer Company!

The diners at this downtown San Diego brewery and restaurant must suffer a good deal of bladder discomfort.  Because according to this sign in their window, no urinating is allowed! Don’t guzzle too much of that tasty handcrafted brew!

Beer fermentation tanks in a downtown San Diego window.
Beer fermentation tanks in a downtown San Diego window.

But there’s so much to drink!

Super 8 sign stays at a Quality Inn.

Super 8 sign stays at a Quality Inn.
Super 8 sign stays at a Quality Inn.

While walking through Mission Valley in the early morning, I did a double take when I saw this unusual sight!  I assume the motel is undergoing a name change.  Or perhaps the driver hauling the Super 8 sign stayed a night at Quality Inn!

Captain Swordfish does terrible pirate mischief.

Captain Swordfish readies to engage in pirate mischief.
Captain Swordfish readies to engage in pirate mischief.

Sadly, my stroll along the Embarcadero today was interrupted by a terrible turn of events.  That half-crazed pirate, Captain Swordfish, was out on the sidewalk near the San Diego Maritime Museum, badgering passing tourists and other innocents with his patented piratical mischief.  Good grief!

Here he comes now about to draw his sword.  There seems to be no escape.  Isn’t ordinary pillaging and mayhem enough?  Aaarrrrr, matey!

Figurehead of the HMS Surprise wears a Santa hat!
Figurehead of the HMS Surprise wears a Santa hat!

I wonder if Captain Swordfish was responsible for this, too?

Surfing Santa arrives by flying a water jetpack!

here comes santa claus with a water jetpack

Wow! Santa returned to San Diego in grand fashion! He’s making his big entrance over the bay using a water jetpack! Here he comes! A huge crowd on the pier just north of Seaport Village was watching with excitement this Saturday afternoon!

Wait! That’s not just a regular, ordinary, everyday daredevil Santa Claus, but the one and only Seaport Village Surfing Santa!

santa is flying high on two jets of water

Surfing Santa rises high above the awestruck crowd to wave and wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Where’s his sack of presents?

santa whirls about in a circle above the bay

Now he’s just showing off. The jolly old guy is jetting about in a circle like a certified maniac with a ridiculously huge beard. The fish below are probably frightened out of their wits. The first time I saw Santa, I was a bit spooked, too.

an elf anxiously awaits surfing santa's arrival

This happy elf and Mrs. Claus patiently awaited old Saint Nick on the pier with a huge throng of onlookers. The reindeer must be taking the weekend off.

surfing santa walks down the pier for his reception

Here he is, larger than life! Surfing Santa! He’s boarded the pier and is making his way to Seaport Village to conduct his usual Santa Claus business.

santa boards pedicab sleigh at seaport village

After boarding a pedicab sleigh, Surfing Santa parades down the bayside walkway while people munching pizza look on in joy and disbelief.