Photos of Navy Band Southwest Alumni Concert.

I enjoyed another special event today during my visit to Balboa Park. As I walked past the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was surprised and happy to learn there would be a Navy Band Southwest Alumni Concert in the afternoon.

When I returned to the pavilion to listen to the concert, many present and past members of Navy Band Southwest were posing for a group photo by the colonnade. The concert soon began, and I snapped a few photos as I listened to the often rousing music, played with perfect precision.

All stood for the National Anthem. A few minutes later those braving the hot sun directly in front of the stage were privileged to hear an extremely talented duet sing a superb rendition of The Prayer by David Foster. What amazing voices. Personally, I got goosebumps. Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli have nothing on those two!

I’m sorry to say Cool San Diego Sights does not feature sound. But here are a few photos!

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!

A smile and music brightens a San Diego day!

Gary Reid performs bluesy songs on San Diego's Embarcadero. He always greets me with a big smile when I pass by.
Gary Reid performs bluesy songs on San Diego’s Embarcadero. He always greets me with a big smile when I pass by.

Meet a guy who always makes me smile. His name is Gary Reid. I often pass him performing bluesy songs with his guitar as I walk along the Embarcadero near the USS Midway.

I didn’t realize until today that he has a CD, YouTube videos and other great stuff available online. He tells me he is available for gigs–just contact him by visiting his website here. His Facebook page is here.

His heart can be heard in his music. Give it a listen.

Gary Reid is a fine guitarist, singer and songwriter. Check out his website for some samples!
Gary Reid is a fine guitarist, singer and songwriter. Check out his website for some samples!
Gary Reid spreads gratitude and a love of life through music!
Gary Reid spreads gratitude and a love of life with his music!

Photos of San Diego Scottish Highland Games.

The 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games gathers the clans and the public together for a weekend of fun at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.
The 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games gathers the clans and the public together for a weekend of fun at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.

This morning I headed to the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The big Southern California event is held every year in Vista, in San Diego’s North County, at Brengle Terrace Park.

This was my first visit to any sort of Scottish Highland Games, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

What an absolutely amazing experience!

How can I adequately explain what I saw? When I arrived I quickly reviewed the thick program, put it in my jeans pocket and just wandered about. The many sights and sounds were almost more than my brain could absorb. There was laughter, smiles and good times in every direction. There were exciting athletic games, traditional Scottish music and, of course, tasty food. And lots of history and culture, too!

I’ll let my many photos do the talking. Read the captions to learn more. If you can, head to Brengle Terrace Park tomorrow, because the weekend event continues through Sunday!

The event attracts people from around Southern California. Visitors are immersed in Scotland's unique and colorful culture.
The event attracts people from around Southern California. Visitors are immersed in Scotland’s unique and colorful culture.
Dozens of Scottish clans participate in the yearly gathering. Their proud history is on display in many tents on the grass.
Dozens of Scottish clans participate in the yearly gathering. Their proud history is on display in many tents on the grass.
These friendly Celtic beauty queens smiled for a photo at the information tent.
These friendly Celtic beauty queens smiled for a photo at the information tent.
Gentlemen in kilts enjoy their Scottish heritage and each other's company.
Gentlemen in kilts enjoy their Scottish heritage and each other’s company.
The Scottish Clan and Tartan Information Center had different plaid tartans on display, many with ancient origins.
The Scottish Clan and Tartan Information Center had different tartans on display, many with ancient origins.
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society was present. I forgot to go see the dancing in the park's Recreation Center. I'll remember next time!
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society was present. I forgot to go watch the dancing in the park’s Recreation Center. I’ll remember next time!
Sweeney's was selling some Irish Soda Bread and Scones, freshly baked!
Sweeney’s was selling some Irish Soda Bread and Scones, freshly baked!
These friendly ladies are the Sassenachs of San Diego. They are big Outlander fans and have a cool blog! Check it out at sass3journey.com
These friendly ladies are the Sassenachs of San Diego. They are big Outlander fans and have a cool blog! Check it out at sass3journey.com
Musicians on the Main Stage include The Ploughboys.
Musicians performing on the Main Stage include The Ploughboys.
Strong athletes compete on the Brengle Terrace Park's baseball field. The Scottish Heavy Athletics include Weight Toss, Weight Throw, Hammer Throw, Braemar Stone and Caber Toss
Strong athletes compete on the Brengle Terrace Park’s baseball field. The Scottish Heavy Athletics include Weight Toss, Weight Throw, Hammer Throw, Braemar Stone and Caber Toss.
Heaving a heavy stone as far as he can!
Heaving a heavy stone as far as he can!
The athletes talk and rest before each takes their turn.
The athletes talk and rest before each takes their turn.
Another stone flies! The ancient sport--Braemer Stone Put--was used for challenges of strength by early Highland Chieftains.
Another stone flies! The ancient sport–Braemer Stone Put–was used for challenges of strength by early Highland Chieftains.
World Champion and multiple record holder Vern Alexander lets fly! Many champions are participating in the 2018 San Diego Scottish Highland Games!
World Champion and multiple record holder Vern Alexander lets fly! Many champions are participating in the 2018 San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A seal at the Scottish American Athletic Association table. Strive for Perfection. Settle for Excellence.
A seal at the Scottish American Athletic Association table. Strive for Perfection. Settle for Excellence.
This guy was retrieving a hammer that he'd thrown far across the baseball field.
This guy was retrieving a hammer that he’d thrown far across the baseball field.
Here comes another attempt at a record!
Here comes another attempt at a record!
Some of the throws nearly went over the outfield fence!
Some of the hammer throws nearly went over the outfield fence!
Not far away, someone checks out the tent of Clan MacLellan.
Not far away, someone checks out the tent of Clan MacLellan.
The Scottish American Military Society was present for the annual gathering.
The Scottish American Military Society was present for the annual gathering.
I saw many maps of historical Scotland, some showing heraldic coats of arms.
I saw many maps of historical Scotland, some showing heraldic coats of arms.
Many beautiful crafts bore images of Scotland and the Scottish people.
Many beautiful crafts bore images of Scotland and the Scottish people.
Real men wear kilts! Instructions show how you can make your own Scottish style Great Kilt.
Real men wear kilts! Instructions show how you can make your own Scottish style Great Kilt.
A Scottish drum major practices on the field, with flags flying in the background.
A Scottish drum major practices on the field, with flags flying in the background.
The 42nd Black Watch Color Guard is the official guard for the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
The 42nd Black Watch Color Guard is the official guard for the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
Gentleman at the Scottish Plant Badge Society tents answers the question of a curious visitor.
Gentleman at the Scottish Plant Badge Society tents answers the question of a curious visitor.
Different native plants are used by the Scottish clans as badges, or emblems.
Different native plants are used by the Scottish clans as badges, or emblems.
Some rousing entertainment draws an audience to the stage inside the beer garden.
Some rousing entertainment draws an audience to the stage inside the beer garden.
Lots of Scottish food could be enjoyed, including meat pies.
Lots of Scottish food could be enjoyed, including authentic meat pies.
Two gents stride across the grass to another area of the park, where pipe bands, drummers and bagpipers compete.
Two gents stride across the grass to another area of the park, where pipe bands, drummers and bagpipers compete.
Different age groups compete in solo piping, drumming, and drum major for trophies.
Different age groups compete in solo piping, drumming, and drum major for trophies.
Someone stands in the distance practicing bagpipes. The distinctive sound could be heard all around the park!
Someone stands in the distance practicing. The distinctive sound of bagpipes could be heard all around the park!
The House of Scotland Pipe Band from Balboa Park joined many other groups from around Southern California for the annual competition.
The House of Scotland Pipe Band from Balboa Park joined many other groups from around Southern California for the annual competition. (I love it when they perform at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
Good times everywhere I turn!
Good times everywhere I turn!
A small group practices on the green.
A small group practices on the green.
This larger group has just finished their practice up on the hillside.
This larger group has just finished their practice up on the hillside.
Elsewhere in Brengle Terrace Park, people were watching Sheep Dog Trials!
Elsewhere in Brengle Terrace Park, people were watching Sheep Dog Trials!
A shepherd uses a whistle to command a sheep dog to herd four sheep.
A shepherd uses a whistle to command a sheep dog to herd four sheep.
People sit on the grass and watch the fascinating herding competition. Some dogs were really good; others seemed a bit confused.
People sit on the grass and watch the fascinating herding competition. Some dogs were really good; others seemed a bit confused.
Four sheep are successfully directed into a pen!
Four sheep are successfully directed into a pen!
Back at the athletics competition, I saw men attempting to toss a 42 pound weight over a pole vault bar, and women doing the Sheaf Toss over a bar with a pitchfork.
Back at the athletics competition, I saw men attempting to toss a 42 pound weight over a pole vault bar, and women doing the Sheaf Toss over a bar with a pitchfork.
A female contestant readies to toss the sheaf with a pitchfork.
A female contestant readies to toss the sheaf with a pitchfork.
Another lets fly!
Another lets fly!
This tough looking guy is going to try to fling that heavy weight over a bar high above him.
This tough looking guy is going to try to fling that heavy weight over a bar high above him.
I don't recall if this guy made it!
I don’t recall if this guy made it!
As women compete in the Braemer Stone Put, the Caber Toss competition is beginning!
As women compete in the Braemer Stone Put, the Caber Toss competition is beginning!
Those big wood poles are called cabers. They're tossed with the objective of flipping them end-over-end, landing as straight as possible.
Those big wood poles are called cabers. They’re tossed with the objective of flipping them end-over-end, landing as straight as possible.
That looks super heavy. One guy went backwards when he lost his balance.
That looks super heavy. One guy went backwards when he lost his balance.
A caber goes flying. I saw one successful flip, but I don't recall which photo shows it.
A caber goes flying. I saw one successful flip, but I don’t recall which photo shows it.
Guys retrieve the heavy caber after an attempt on the baseball field.
Guys retrieve the heavy caber after an attempt on the baseball field.
There goes another caber!
There goes another caber!
A young generation of Scots keeps history alive at the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A young generation of Scots keeps history alive at the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
Good times, warm conversation and fellowship.
Good memories, conversation and fellowship.
Drummer for the Wicked Tinkers gets the crowd enthused as he works his way through the beer garden.
Drummer for the Wicked Tinkers gets the crowd enthused as he works his way through the beer garden.
A wonderful time is had at the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A wonderful time is had at the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games.

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 Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!

The Rockademy performs on the main stage at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach.
The Rockademy performs on the main stage at 2018 Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach.

Today I rode the Coaster train from downtown San Diego up to Solana Beach to experience the annual Fiesta del Sol street festival!

I’d never been to Fiesta del Sol, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I found was a lot of family fun, live music, a tasty chicken quesadilla, and a perfect bench overlooking the event where I could read and gaze out at the beach and Pacific Ocean!

This cool event continues through the weekend. You’ll find it just off the Pacific Coast Highway, right next to Fletcher Cove Beach Park!

Fiesta del Sol, presented by the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, takes place beside Fletcher Cove Beach Park. The festival continues through the weekend.
Fiesta del Sol, presented by the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, takes place beside Fletcher Cove Beach Park. The street festival continues through the weekend.
Thousands turn out for a fun community event on a spring day in Solana Beach.
Thousands turn out for a fun community event on a spring day in Solana Beach.
Lots of tasty food could be found.
Lots of tasty food could be found.
Lots of art, too.
Lots of art, too.
This guy recycles surfboards.
This guy recycles surfboards.
GC Dance Company performs at Fiesta del Sol.
GC Dance Company performs at Fiesta del Sol.
Photo of Fletcher Cove Beach Park from Overlook Park. I found a nice bench where I sat and read a book.
Photo of Fletcher Cove Beach Park from Overlook Park. I found a nice bench where I sat and read a book. (After visiting the food trucks to grab a mouthwatering lunch!)
I wandered down to Fletcher Cove and looked north along the cliffs. Not many people were on the beach this overcast, slightly chilly day.
I wandered down to Fletcher Cove and looked north along the cliffs. Not many people were on the beach this overcast, slightly chilly day.
A stand up paddle surfer was out on the Pacific Ocean looking for the perfect wave.
A stand up paddle surfer was out on the Pacific Ocean waiting for the perfect wave.
Walking back up from the beach toward the colorful festival.
Walking back up from the beach toward the colorful festival.
A cool Solana Beach sign above the tops of tents at Fiesta del Sol.
A cool Solana Beach sign above the tops of tents at Fiesta del Sol.
Some people checked out a vendor's old school music for sale.
Some people checked out some old school music for sale.
Another vendor had all sorts of cool wooden items, including some awesome model ships.
Another vendor had all sorts of unique wooden items, including awesome model ships.
The Solana Beach Civic Historical Society had a fascinating display of old photos. I learned about their Heritage Museum in La Colonia Park, which I'll visit someday!
The Solana Beach Civic Historical Society had a fascinating display of old photos. I learned about their Heritage Museum in La Colonia Park, which I’ll visit someday!
Teenage rock band The Elements gets ready to perform at another stage.
Teenage rock band The Elements gets ready to perform at another stage near Pacific Coast Highway.
More food!
More food!
This artist with lots of cool surf images displays his art at various festivals. I remember seeing him at the Ocean Beach Street Fair.
This artist surrounded by cool surf images displays his artwork at various festivals. I remember seeing him at the Ocean Beach Street Fair.
These super long skateboards are Blue Murphy's original Wonderboards! Murphy was a very friendly guy!
These super long skateboards are Blue Murphy’s original Wonderboards! Murphy was a very friendly guy!
On my way back to the Solana Beach train station to catch the Coaster, I spied this friendly stiltwalker. She was telling passersby about a new gallery down the street in the Cedros Avenue Design District. (There's a glimpse of street art on a utility box. Stay tuned for much more!)
On my way back to the Solana Beach train station to catch the Coaster, I spied this friendly stiltwalker. She was inviting people to a gallery down the street in the Cedros Avenue Design District.
Lots of folks were having a great time today at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!
Lots of folks were having a great time today at Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!

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!

Naruwan Taiko’s thundering, unabashed joy!

This afternoon I headed to the Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista’s Bayside Park. I’ll blog more about this fun event shortly!

The highlight of my day was an incredible performance by Naruwan Taiko!

Imagine resonant, heart-pounding, pulsing beats, and drummers swinging unstoppable arms in a synchronized dance. Imagine smiles and shouts, muscles and sweat, powered by a pure love of life. For a few moments Bayside Park was stirred by magic. Hearts were lifted by thundering, unabashed joy!

I was ready to leap over the sun!

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!

Dance on Sunday afternoons in Balboa Park!

On Sunday afternoons I seem to be spending more and more time in the grand Ballroom of the Balboa Park Club. Cushioned chairs line the walls, and I can sit peacefully as I read or write, listening to gentle, sprightly folk music, occasionally looking up at happy people dancing.

I don’t do much in the way of dancing–not with my feet. But I’m sure some of you do! And I bet some of you’d like to learn all sorts of different folk dances!

I spoke to a nice lady who is a member of one of Balboa Park’s dance clubs, and she told me they are looking to grow their membership. There’s an opportunity for ordinary people with varying levels of experience to learn folk dances from many different cultures. And each lesson costs only a couple bucks!

As you can see from one of my photos, kids and parents can also learn how to dance the third Sunday of every month, from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Sounds like fun!

Interested? Visit the International Dance Association of San Diego County website by clicking here!

If you can walk, you can dance!

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!

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!