Fun photos of 2018 Holiday Bowl Parade!

The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade headed down Harbor Drive the morning of New Year's Eve. Chilly, drizzly weather couldn't stop the America's Largest Balloon Parade!
The 2018 Holiday Bowl Parade headed down Harbor Drive the morning of New Year’s Eve. Chilly, drizzly weather couldn’t stop America’s Largest Balloon Parade!

It might’ve been a bit more chilly and breezy than usual for San Diego this New Year’s Eve morning, but the 2018 Holiday Bowl Parade was just as fun as ever!

The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, which proceeded down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero, is billed as America’s Largest Balloon Parade. This year the parade featured the two college football teams that are competing in the 2018 Holiday Bowl: Northwestern University and the University of Utah. The big bowl game is kicking off right as I post these photographs!

Without further ado, here we go!

Before the Holiday Bowl Parade began, three cool old biplanes made a fly-by. Trailing smoke is a 1941 Boeing Stearman; the other two are Great Lakes.
Before the Holiday Bowl Parade began, three cool old biplanes made a fly-by. Trailing smoke is a 1941 Boeing Stearman; the other two are Great Lakes.
The Solar Turbines 5K run begins down Harbor Drive shortly before the parade.
The Solar Turbines 5K run begins down Harbor Drive shortly before the parade.
Northwestern University and University of Utah fans wore their colors up and down the parade route.
Northwestern University and University of Utah fans wore their colors up and down the parade route.
Barricades are moved as the Holiday Bowl Parade is ready to begin!
Barricades are moved as the Holiday Bowl Parade is ready to begin!
First up is WorldStrides on Stage. They will perform the halftime show at the Holiday Bowl football game in the afternoon.
First up is WorldStrides on Stage. They will perform the halftime show at the Holiday Bowl football game in the afternoon.
Another super fun Holiday Bowl Parade has begun!
Another super fun Holiday Bowl Parade has begun!
The San Diego Harbor Police Honor Guard helps to lead things off.
The San Diego Harbor Police Honor Guard helps to lead things off.
Here comes Marine Band San Diego.
Here comes Marine Band San Diego.
The first balloon is cheerful Cheri the Octopus!
The first balloon is cheerful Cheri the Octopus!
And here comes Carter the Sea Turtle!
And here comes Carter the Sea Turtle!
San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts waves from the Wonderfront float. San Diego's waterfront is indeed full of wonders!
San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts waves from the Wonderfront float. San Diego’s waterfront is indeed full of wonders!
I wish I'd gotten a better pic of this funny group: The World-Famous Lawn Rangers! Their routine is so absurd you have to laugh out loud!
I wish I’d gotten a better pic of this funny group: The World-Famous Lawn Rangers! Their synchronized routine is so absurd you have to laugh out loud!
Here come the Shawnee Mission North Marching Indians from Overland Park, Kansas.
Here come the Shawnee Mission North Marching Indians from Overland Park, Kansas.
Pageantry and marching bands make any parade exciting!
Pageantry and marching bands make any parade exciting!
That big balloon swimming under the clouds is Louie the Blue Whale!
That big balloon swimming under the clouds is Louie the Blue Whale!
And now I see good old Garfield! He's giving somebody the thumbs up.
And now I see good old Garfield! He’s giving somebody the thumbs up.
These are the Norris High School Marching Titans from Firth, Nebraska!
These are the Norris High School Marching Titans from Firth, Nebraska!
Next up is the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Next up is the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Bob the Builder has either lost his balance or the breezy weather had gotten the better of the balloon's handlers!
Bob the Builder has either lost his balance or the breezy weather had gotten the better of the balloon’s handlers!
Herencia Hispana comes down Harbor Drive wearing elaborate dresses and folk costumes!
Herencia Hispana comes down Harbor Drive wearing elaborate dresses and folk costumes!
Beautifully swirling Mexican dresses delight the eye.
Beautifully swirling Mexican dresses delight the eye.
Chinelos dancers were viewed with astonishment by many in the audience. It's an unusual Mexican tradition popular in the state of Morelos.
Chinelos dancers were viewed with astonishment by many in the audience. It’s an unusual Mexican tradition popular in the state of Morelos.
Danza del los Diablos. Looks like devilish fun!
Danza del los Diablos. Looks like devilish fun!
Another marching band! This one comes from Palo Verde Valley High School.
Another marching band! This one comes from Palo Verde Valley High School.
Go Padres!
Go Padres!
That's one gigantic, happy Gingerbread Man! (Any relation to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?)
That’s one gigantic, very happy Gingerbread Man! (Any relation to the friendly Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?)
Many in the audience suddenly became excited. Who is that approaching?
Many in the audience suddenly became excited. Who is that approaching?
Here comes Northwestern University, one of the teams in the 2018 Holiday Bowl!
Here comes Northwestern University, one of the teams in the 2018 Holiday Bowl!
Banners twirl proudly!
Banners twirl proudly!
Members of the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band thunder past!
Members of the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band thunder past!
Willie the Northwestern mascot is up on the purple and white float with some cheerleaders!
Willie the Northwestern mascot is up on the purple and white float with some cheerleaders!
That's one mighty big football!
That’s one mighty big football!
Members of Sports for Exceptional Athletes demonstrate their skill during the parade.
Members of Sports for Exceptional Athletes demonstrate their skill during the parade.
Look! Here comes the University of Utah!
Look! Here comes the University of Utah!
The Utes also had a big contingent in the Holiday Bowl Parade.
The Utes also had a big contingent in the Holiday Bowl Parade.
Swoop, the Utah mascot had a bit of trouble donning that Santa hat!
Swoop, the Utah mascot had a bit of trouble donning that Santa hat!
The red and white Utah Utes float with smiling cheer squad passes by.
The red and white Utah Utes float with smiling cheer squad passes by.
The University of Utah Marching Utes all appear to be having a great time.
The University of Utah Marching Utes all appear to be having a great time.
More college football pageantry.
More college football pageantry.
Goodness! Here come even more balloons down Harbor Drive!
Goodness! Here come even more balloons down Harbor Drive!
It's Hog Heaven!
It’s Hog Heaven!
There's no need to fear, Underdog is here!
There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here! (My favorite.)
And here is the Deer Valley High School Marching Band!
And here is the Deer Valley High School Marching Band!
Snowman is either tipping backward in the breezy weather or gradually melting.
Snowman is either tipping backward in the breezy weather or gradually melting.
The San Diego State University Marching Aztecs precede Nicholas the Nutcracker!
The San Diego State University Marching Aztecs precede Nicholas the Nutcracker!
SDSU, a local university with a great sports history, marches with pride through downtown San Diego.
SDSU, a local university with a great sports history, marches with pride through downtown San Diego.
The San Diego Star Wars Society is always a sure hit with young and old alike in any parade!
The San Diego Star Wars Society is always a sure hit with young and old alike in any parade!
Darth Vader says hello to someone watching the cool parade.
Darth Vader says hello to someone watching the cool parade!
A tiny TIE fighter and tiny Star Wars characters!
A tiny TIE fighter and tiny Star Wars characters!
Fantasy from the past follows fantasy from the future. It's Merlin the Wizard!
Medieval fantasy follows futuristic fantasy. It’s Merlin the Wizard!
Even more fun balloons! I see a San Diego Zoo Panda!
Even more fun balloons! I see a San Diego Zoo Panda!
It's the beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar!
It’s the beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar!
It's Mother Goose. (She must be taking a break from her big annual parade out in El Cajon.)
It’s Mother Goose. (She must be taking a break from her big annual parade out in El Cajon.)
More pageantry and excitement. It's the Green Valley Marching Band.
More pageantry and excitement. It’s the Green Valley Marching Band!
Yikes! Here comes the scariest Holiday Bowl Parade balloon of them all! Tessa the T-Rex!
Yikes! Here comes the scariest Holiday Bowl Parade balloon of them all! Tessa the T-Rex!
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets march past and receive many waves.
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets march past and receive many waves.
The parade program calls this balloon entry Saxophone. It sure is a big one, though!
The parade program calls this balloon entry Saxophone. It sure is a big one, though!
The Bobcat Marching Band came to San Diego from Western Dubuque High School.
The Bobcat Marching Band came to San Diego from Western Dubuque High School.
During a break in the parade I turned my camera toward San Diego Bay and captured the nearby Star of India.
During a break in the parade I turned my camera toward San Diego Bay and captured the nearby Star of India.
From the world's oldest active sailing ship to a space shuttle! This particular balloon Space Shuttle was taxiing down Harbor Drive on wheels!
From the world’s oldest active sailing ship to a space shuttle! This particular balloon Space Shuttle was taxiing down Harbor Drive on tiny wheels!
You know these guys simply had to be in the parade. It's the Al Bahr Shrine and their Tin Lizzies.
You know these guys simply had to be in the parade. It’s the Al Bahr Shrine and their Tin Lizzies.
Here come some Al Bahr Clowns.
Here come some Al Bahr Clowns.
I had fun! Did you?
I had fun! Did 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!

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 Holiday Bowl bands at battle!

Tomorrow evening, on New Year’s Eve, the Northwestern Wildcats play the Utah Utes in the 2018 Holiday Bowl.

Late this morning the team marching bands, cheerleading squads and mascots battled each other! And every combatant sported a great big smile!

A good crowd of college football fans enjoyed the annual Battle of the Bands on the sunny outdoor Marina Terrace of San Diego’s Marriott Marquis.

I arrived just before the show began…

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!

Fun art at Crown Point Junior Music Academy!

Cool sun in sunglasses with a big SMILE.
A sun in cool sunglasses has a big SMILE!

Check out this super fun art on Ingraham Street in Pacific Beach!

Two electrical boxes have been painted next to Crown Point Junior Music Academy. Looks to me like it’s the work of students…

Earth is in our hands.
Earth is in our hands.
Crown Point Space Camp
Crown Point Space Camp
A happy mermaid plays an underwater horn!
A happy mermaid plays an underwater horn!
...there comes a day, when you're gonna look around, and realize happiness is where you are...
…there comes a day, when you’re gonna look around, and realize happiness is where you are…
We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine...
We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…
A cool octopus kid plays drums. Crown Point Rocks!
A cool octopus kid plays drums. Crown Point Rocks!

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!

A beating heart, and neighboring stars.

I’ve written another short story. It’s titled A Heart That Would Not End.

This new story was inspired by my friend Mitchell the didgeridoo player.

Mitchell’s smile can be seen all around San Diego. Perhaps you’ve seen him playing one of his didgeridoos at Seaport Village or Balboa Park, or entertaining visitors inside the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park.

Not only does his music surge like the beating heart of the cosmos, but Mitchell has a deep interest in astronomy and our particular corner of the galaxy. He has created a unique Stellarium: a large three dimensional transparent cube filled with shining stars that represents our sun’s neighborhood. He has shown me photographs.

One day I hope to look into the Stellarium with my own eyes.

To read my new story, click here.

A joyful celebration of Christmas in San Diego!

Second grade students from Dailard Elementary School fill Balboa Park with joyous song during 2018 Christmas on the Prado.
Second grade students from Dailard Elementary School fill Balboa Park with joyous song during 2018 Christmas on the Prado.

If you love Christmas and happen to be in San Diego this Sunday afternoon, head over to Balboa Park! It’s the second day of Christmas on the Prado!

The 5th Annual Children’s Coalition “Christmas on the Prado” will be held at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and International Cottages from 1 – 4 pm, and will feature a special Christmas Concert by Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, lots of holiday treats, inspiring scenes of the Nativity, games and crafts for kids, cultural displays of Christmas Around the World, a reading of The Night Before Christmas by Mrs. Claus, and photos with good old Saint Nick himself!

Christmas on the Prado is a joyful two day holiday event that celebrates the birth of Christ and the generous spirit of Christmas.

Click here to learn more. (Christmas on the Prado continues to grow every year–but they can always use more volunteers and participants! I learned that church groups from all around San Diego are welcomed to come together and join the program! Why not?)

Yesterday I experienced the first day of this year’s event.

Here are some photographs . . .

Mrs. Claus greeted me in the early afternoon as Christmas on the Prado got underway.
Mrs. Claus greeted me in the early afternoon as Christmas on the Prado got underway.
Looking at eight beautiful scenes of the Nativity created by the Community Christmas Center, which was established in 1953 in Balboa Park.
Looking at eight beautiful scenes of the Nativity created by the Community Christmas Center, which was established in 1953 in Balboa Park.
Child is awed by a visiting angel.
Child sees a visiting angel.
Elsewhere in the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Santa confers with an elf before a photo is taken.
Elsewhere in the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Santa confers with an elf before a photo is taken.
Dozens of happy elves would be first to perform on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage.
Dozens of happy, energetic elves would be first to perform on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage.
Young singers from Dailard Elementary School treat the crowd to fun holiday music.
Young singers from Dailard Elementary School treat the crowd to fun holiday music.
The nearby International Cottages were celebrating Christmas Around the World. This beautiful creche in the Hall of Nations is from Peru.
The nearby International Cottages were celebrating Christmas Around the World. This beautiful creche in the Hall of Nations is from Peru.
These fun Christmas crafts were on display in the House of Sweden's cottage.
These fun Christmas crafts were on display in the House of Sweden’s cottage.
Christmas baskets made of paper and many hands inside the House of Norway's cottage.
Christmas baskets made of paper by many hands inside the House of Norway’s cottage.
The House of Hungary had their very beautiful Christmas sparkling for all to enjoy.
The House of Hungary had their very beautiful Christmas sparkling for all to enjoy.
The House of England was hoping that Father Christmas would Please Stop Here.
The House of England was hoping that Father Christmas would Please Stop Here.
Members of the House of Ireland prepare to sing among the International Cottages during Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
Members of the House of Ireland prepare to sing among the International Cottages during Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
A bit later, Santa and Mrs. Claus read The Night Before Christmas to gathered children and the young-at-heart.
A bit later, Santa and Mrs. Claus read The Night Before Christmas to gathered children and the young-at-heart.
Back at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, the super talented group Chamber Bravura performs. They've sung several times at Carnegie Hall!
Back at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, the super talented group Chamber Bravura performs. They’ve sung several times at Carnegie Hall!
Chamber Bravura lifts hearts with Christmas song, combining popular carols with unexpected moments of humor.
Chamber Bravura lifts hearts with Christmas song, combining popular carols with unexpected bits of silly humor.
Jumping for treats at the Gingerbread House.
Jumping for treats at the Gingerbread House.
The Kearny Mesa Concert Band is almost ready to perform as the magical Spreckels Organ Pavilion lights come on.
The Kearny Mesa Concert Band is almost ready to perform as the magical Spreckels Organ Pavilion lights come on.
Lights also come on in the Nativity scenes. A beautiful depiction of Mary and Joseph with the Christ child, escaping to Egypt.
Lights also come on in the Nativity scenes. A beautiful depiction of Mary and Joseph with the Christ child, escaping to Egypt.
Jesus with the little children. For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Jesus with the little children. For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
More happy elves take the stage for a Christmas sing-along.
More happy elves take the stage for a Christmas sing-along.
The Sun Harbor Chorus Elves had many in the audience singing, clapping and ringing bells.
The Sun Harbor Chorus Elves had many in the audience singing, clapping and ringing bells.
The nose of an elf named Faith was getting cold, so Santa took a mini-Santa hat off the tree and put it on her nose. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
The nose of an elf named Faith was getting cold, so Santa took a mini-Santa hat off the tree and put it on her nose. Photo courtesy Bill Swank. (Thank 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!

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!

Beauty and heart in Balboa Park.

A busy Sunday afternoon in Balboa Park. There is much living to do.
People walk through Balboa Park. There is much living to do.

Another fine Sunday afternoon in Balboa Park.

More beauty.

More sunshine.

More smiles.

More heart.

I could take a million photographs during walks through Balboa Park, because there is always something new.

Dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of Lebanon lawn program.
Dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of Lebanon lawn program.
Lebanese food is devoured on a sunny San Diego day.
Yummy authentic Lebanese food is devoured on a sunny San Diego day.
Amazing artwork displayed inside the Casa del Prado for the 43rd Annual Sumi-e Ten Japanese Brush Painting Exhibition.
Exquisite artwork displayed inside the Casa del Prado for the 43rd Annual Sumi-e Ten Japanese Brush Painting Exhibition.
Taking up a brush, learning how to craft elegant beauty.
Young people take up a brush, learning to transform ink into elegant beauty.
Autumn seasonal display in the Botanical Building features pumpkins arranged among plants and flowers.
The seasonal display in the Botanical Building features pumpkins arranged among plants and flowers.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego's Civic Organist, talks to the audience during the free Sunday concert at two o'clock.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego’s Civic Organist, talks to the audience during the free Sunday concert at two o’clock.
Visitors to Balboa Park peer down into the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden from the deck of the Tea Pavilion.
Peering down into the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden from the deck of the Tea Pavilion.
Light filters through tall bamboo at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Light filters through bamboo at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A colorful painting of Mt. Fuji by Yutaka Murakami in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A painting of Mt. Fuji by Yutaka Murakami. His fantastic artwork is now on display in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Steel drums add flavor to the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain.
Steel drums add flavor to the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain.
People eat, talk, relax at tables in the Plaza de Panama.
People eat, talk, find comfort at tables in the Plaza de Panama.
Perusing photographs by a local artist at Art in the Park.
Browsing photographs by a local artist at the outdoor Art in the Park.
Gazing down upon the dreamy Alcazar Garden.
People filter through the dreamy Alcazar Garden.
Feeling the holiday spirit by The Old Globe Christmas Tree in Copley Plaza.
Feeling the holiday spirit by The Old Globe Christmas Tree in Copley Plaza.
Enjoying peace and warm sunlight on the grassy West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Enjoying peace and warm sunlight on the grassy West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Shining blooms in a tree.
Shining blooms in a tree.
A noisy flock of crows was perched in the eucalyptus trees near the San Diego Chess Club and Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A noisy flock of crows was perched in the eucalyptus trees near the San Diego Chess Club and Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A drum circle in Marston Point, like the joyful, beating heart of Balboa Park.
A drum circle in Marston Point. Like the joyful, beating heart of 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, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

The triumphant return of the Spreckels Organ!

The amazing Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor musical instrument in the world and the joyful lungs of Balboa Park, made its triumphant return today!

After six weeks of silence because of a broken motor on the main blower, the Spreckels Organ is once again producing fantastic music, with a little help from San Diego’s world-famous Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

Raul began today’s concert with Johann Sebastian Bach’s powerful Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The talented San Diego Children’s Choir then took the stage to perform a variety of classical songs, including Franz Schubert’s moving Ave Maria.

To honor Veterans Day, Raul concluded the program by playing three John Philip Sousa compositions: Semper Fidelis, In Memoriam, and Stars and Stripes Forever.

In a troubled world where the flag often flies at half-staff, this Sunday we were reminded that human good can prevail. With a little dedication any broken instrument in this world–even the mighty Spreckels Organ–can be repaired.

I saw many smiles in the sunshine.

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!