Swords of Chivalry knights battle in Balboa Park!

In my opinion, the most exciting part of the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday was the historical sword fighting. A local group called Swords of Chivalry provided a fine demonstration of realistic combat between armored knights during the Middle Ages.

According to their website, the Swords of Chivalry Program is one of only 16 schools in the world that have been selected to the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association. The program is led by “San Diego’s own Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) expert and medieval history guru, Scott Farrell.”

As knights and their squires performed heroic feats upon the green grass of the International Cottages, I and everyone watching were drawn back in time to the fantastic Age of Chivalry.

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English knights, cute Corgis, Harry Potter and more!

Knights in shining armor mock battle in Balboa Park during the House of England lawn program!
Knights in armor engage in mock battle during the House of England’s lawn program.

The House of England in Balboa Park hosted a really great lawn program today!

As I lingered on the grass at the center of the International Cottages, I saw historical costumes, several mock knight battles, a Beatles tribute band, and even a parade of Welsh Corgis! I also stepped into the House of England’s cottage to check out a bunch of cultural displays!

These photos show what I experienced…

The wonderful House of England lawn program drew a good crowd to the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
The annual House of England lawn program drew a good crowd to the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A member of the group Swords of Chivalry removes her steel helmet after some mock medieval combat.
A member of the group Swords of Chivalry removes her steel helmet after some mock medieval combat.
Other members of Swords of Chivalry have donned historical armor during the lawn program.
Other members of Swords of Chivalry have donned historical armor during the House of England’s lawn program.
Kids had fun learning about the Age of Chivalry, a time long ago that seems like pure fantasy in our modern age.
Kids had fun learning about the Age of Chivalry, a time long ago that now seems like pure fantasy.
Ron, Hermione and Harry welcome visitors to the House of England's cottage. Join us for a cup of tea.
Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter welcome visitors to the House of England’s cottage. Join us for a cup of tea.
The House of England's cottage is jam packed with all sorts of interesting photos, artwork and cultural displays.
The House of England’s small cottage is full of interesting photos, artwork and cultural displays.
One wall features the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. A nearby poster traces The Royal Lineage.
One wall features the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. A nearby poster traces The Royal Lineage.
A Briton's Creed, Big Ben,Winston Churchill and more!
A Briton’s Creed, Big Ben,Winston Churchill and more!
I soon spotted a bunch of Harry Potter stuff. It's the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts!
I soon spotted a bunch of Harry Potter stuff. It’s the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts!
One chart shows how the name Luna has become increasingly popular due to the Harry Potter books and films.
One chart shows how the name Luna has become increasingly popular due to the Harry Potter books and films.
It's all of the Doctors from the Doctor Who series!
It’s all of the Doctors from the popular Doctor Who series!
A large display in the cottage is devoted to the British royal family, and Princess Diana in particular.
A large display in the cottage is devoted to the British royal family, and Princess Diana in particular.
An article about keeping Diana's legacy alive by eliminating landmines around the world.
An article about striving to keep Diana’s legacy alive by eliminating landmines around the world. (Click image to enlarge for easy reading.)
Look at all the fun, unique teapots!
Look at all the fun, unique teapots!
Back outside, the House of England had a food tent up. Delectable treats for sale included Hagrid's Dragon Eggs!
Back outside, the House of England had a food tent up. Delectable treats for sale included Hagrid’s Dragon Eggs!
All sorts of tents on the lawn. Many contained displays concerning English culture and history.
All sorts of tents along the grass. Many contained information about English culture and history.
Some attending the cool event wore historical costumes.
Some attending the cool event wore historical costumes.
A parade featuring dozens of cute Corgis caught everyone's attention.
A parade featuring dozens of cute Corgis caught everyone’s attention.
Some guys rode penny-farthings to Balboa Park's fun House of England lawn program.
Some guys rode penny-farthings to Balboa Park’s wonderful House of England event.
Four gentlemen and their high wheels.
Four gentlemen and their high wheels.
This elegant lady had a table that concerned the show Victoria on PBS.
This elegant lady had a table that concerned the show Victoria on PBS.
Images from 19th century England.
Images from 19th century England.
Claudia Previn Stasny, daughter of André Previn, sings The Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen to begin the main program of entertainment.
Claudia Previn Stasny, daughter of André Previn, sang The Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen to begin the program of afternoon entertainment.
A happy group of Welsh Corgis hangs out by the stage.
A happy group of Welsh Corgis hangs out by the stage.
The Baja Bugs, a great Beatles tribute band, rocks the House of England's lawn program.
The Baja Bugs, a great Beatles tribute band, rocks the House of England’s lawn program.
I think I see Ringo at the drums!
I think I see Ringo at the drums!
Knights entertain an outdoor audience at the House of England's lawn program in Balboa Park.
Battling knights entertain an outdoor audience at the House of England’s lawn program in 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!

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Mayflower descendants gather in Balboa Park!

I'm welcomed to Plimoth Plantation West in Balboa Park by two descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims!
I’m welcomed to Plimoth Plantation West in Balboa Park by two descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims!

Yesterday I swung by the International Cottages in Balboa Park to check out an absolutely unique event!

The Mayflower Society’s San Diego Colony had created Plimoth Plantation West, a representation of Pilgrim history and life, focusing on the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World and their establishment of Plymouth Colony. The colorful event was organized in anticipation of an important day that will arrive in two years: the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Landing in 1620.

I’m no expert when it comes to the history of the Pilgrims, so I was fascinated by many of the displays.

I learned about the Pilgrims’ various reasons for departing England, their journey across the Atlantic, the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the eventual anchoring off Cape Cod, the extreme hardships and many deaths during that first harsh winter, their friendly and not-so-friendly relations with several Native American tribes who lived in the region . . . even the sorts of games Pilgrim children enjoyed playing.

Many members of the Society of Mayflower Descendants were at the event in period costume, celebrating their ancestors and an important chapter in America’s early history. One gentleman I spoke to had descended directly from William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony!

Here are a few photos of Plimoth Plantation West!

If you are one of the 31 million possible Mayflower descendants worldwide, you can join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!
If you are one of the 31 million possible Mayflower descendants worldwide, you can join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!
Someone points to a chart showing the original Mayflower passengers. Less than half survived and made it to the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Someone points to a chart showing the original Mayflower passengers. Less than half survived and made it to the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
The Mayflower Compact, signed aboard ship, was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony.
The Mayflower Compact, signed aboard ship, was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony.
This friendly gent was dressed like William Brewster, a respected elder and leader of Plymouth Colony.
This friendly gent was dressed like religious separatist William Brewster, a respected elder and leader of Plymouth Colony.
A timeline of Pilgrim history begins with the formation of the Church of England. Puritans sought to eliminate retained Catholic practices. Separatists created secret congregations.
A timeline of Pilgrim history begins with the formation of the Church of England. Puritans sought to eliminate retained Catholic practices. Separatists created secret congregations.
One gentleman was demonstrating the use of a quill and inkwell. I learned ink was often made from berry juices, and turkey and goose feathers were primarily used for quills.
One gentleman was demonstrating the use of a quill and inkwell. I learned ink was often made from berry juices, and turkey and goose feathers were primarily used for quills.
Educational tools used by the Pilgrims included a Child's Hornbook, a form of children's primer containing the letters of the alphabet.
Educational tools used by the Pilgrims included a Child’s Hornbook, a form of children’s primer containing the letters of the alphabet.
Pilgrim children enjoyed very simple toys and games, and small crudely made dolls.
Pilgrim children enjoyed simple games and toys, like spinning tops, and small crudely made dolls.
The descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims gather for a special event in San Diego's Balboa Park!
The descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims gather for a special event in San Diego’s always lively Balboa Park!

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A world of peace, joy and hope.

My previous blog post seeped with terrible darkness. It showed us a human world that contains brutality, selfishness and despair.

But you know, if we chose, our world could look like this:

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I paused among the International Cottages to experience the peace, joy and hope that are possible when different people with different experiences simply love life and come unselfishly together.

Members of the House of Czech and Slovak Republics, with their smiles, dance and music set a wonderful example for us all to follow.

The choice is ours to make.

Art, Color and Fiesta in Balboa Park!

The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.
The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

This evening I enjoyed a special event at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The House of Mexico presented Arte, Color y Fiesta, a cultural program rich with dance, music and patriotism celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

I successfully photographed the first few groups that provided entertainment before daylight waned. Many smiles shined into the evening.

To learn more about the House of Mexico, and perhaps become a member, or provide a donation as they prepare to build their new cottage among the existing House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, visit their website here!

The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico's cottage in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico’s new cottage in Balboa Park.
Los Chinelos De Morelos dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes Carnival-like costumes and masks.
Los Chinelos Unidos por Siempre de San Diego dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes fantastic Carnival-like costumes and masks.
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego perform during an event that celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain.
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego, a musical group composed of local high school students, perform during an event that celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park's Food Truck Friday.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego’s 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!

Help the House of Mexico build their cottage!

The House of Mexico had a table in the Plaza de Panama during the 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration.
The House of Mexico had a fun display in the Plaza de Panama during the 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Yesterday during the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park I walked around the Plaza de Panama checking out a variety of colorful tables. At the House of Mexico’s table, I learned how these good people are raising money to build their own casita at the International Cottages. The necessary permits have been obtained, now they just need to raise more money for the construction!

The House of Mexico has been a member of the House of Pacific Relations since 2004. Their mission is to promote the beauty, history, and culture of Mexico, San Diego’s close neighbor to the south.

If you’d like to help this cultural project, by becoming a member or perhaps by making a tax deductible donation, please visit the House of Mexico’s website!

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Culture, sunshine and life in Balboa Park.

Riding bicycles one sunny Sunday over the Cabrillo Bridge into the heart of Balboa Park.
Riding bicycles over the Cabrillo Bridge into the heart of Balboa Park.

Here are some photographs from my Sunday walk through Balboa Park. I enjoyed plenty of culture, sunshine and life. That’s why I go there so often.

Visitors enjoy the quiet, sunlit beauty of the Alcazar Garden.
Visitors enjoy the quiet, sunlit beauty of the Alcazar Garden.
Rise Up For the Arts and Culture. Preserve Penny For the Arts. A sign in Spanish Village, where the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition recently held an event.
Rise Up For the Arts and Culture. Preserve Penny For the Arts. A sign in Spanish Village, where the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition recently held an event.
Lots of fun balloons on El Prado on another perfect Sunday afternoon.
Lots of fun balloons on El Prado on another perfect Sunday afternoon.
A green banner near the entrance to the Balboa Park Visitors Center anticipates St. Patrick's Day. A banner with bright flowers and a hummingbird anticipates the arrival of spring.
A green banner near the entrance to the Balboa Park Visitors Center anticipates St. Patrick’s Day. A banner with bright flowers and a hummingbird anticipates the arrival of spring.
People relax at a table under a red umbrella in the Plaza de Panama. The House of Charm rises in the background.
People relax at a table under a red umbrella in the Plaza de Panama. The House of Charm, home of the Mingei Museum, rises in the background.
Trombonist Eric Starr joins Robert Plimpton on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They are practicing before the Sunday afternoon concert.
Trombonist Eric Starr joins Robert Plimpton on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They are practicing before the Sunday afternoon concert.
The free concert begins. Sweet music fills the park.
The free concert begins. Sweet music fills the park.
The House of Chamorros hosted this Sunday's International Cottages lawn program.
The House of Chamorros hosted this Sunday’s International Cottages lawn program.
Many wonderful Chamorro arts and crafts displayed at the event.
Many wonderful Chamorro arts and crafts were displayed at the event.
People converge in Balboa Park to celebrate culture, sunshine and life.
People converge in Balboa Park to celebrate culture, sunshine and 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!

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!