San Diego’s 250th Anniversary coming in 2019!

Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Arthur Putnam’s sculpture The Padre on Presidio Hill.

If one considers San Diego’s founding to have occurred in 1769, the year both Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the El Presidio Reál de San Diego were established on Presidio Hill, then 2019 will be our city’s 250th Anniversary!

That’s no small thing! One would suppose that huge celebrations are being planned!

Well, when I perform an internet search, I can find no plans for celebrations mentioned, apart from Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá’s announced church events, and a Founders’ Day Festival in Old Town.

It’s hard to believe, but I find almost no discussion of the city’s upcoming 250 year anniversary.

Unfortunately, as many of you might remember, the occasion of Balboa Park’s Centennial in 2015 was not celebrated with the fanfare that would have been appropriate.

I do hope that behind the scenes serious plans are being made for the appropriate celebration of San Diego’s 250th birthday! Or that plans will be made!

Just a thought from a silly blogger who loves San Diego!

A virtual reality tour around San Diego!

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.
Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.

During my random walk through Balboa Park today, I stumbled upon something that is unique and really fun! I wandered into the San Diego History Center and was immediately drawn to a sign at the entrance to one gallery that read: Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure.

I wasn’t looking to blog anything after my walk today, but this short VR tour around San Diego is so cool, I definitely want to share it!

After having my VR headset strapped on, I suddenly found myself transported to a wide variety of places and events around San Diego. I was standing atop the California Tower in Balboa Park, turning my head to gaze in every direction . . .

Then suddenly I was floating over Oceanside in a hot air balloon . . . standing among hockey players during a San Diego Gulls game . . . riding a helicopter along our beautiful coast . . . right up close among the dolphins at SeaWorld . . . riding the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach . . . flying above the desert in Anza Borrego State Park . . . floating on a boat among sea lions on San Diego Bay . . . and much more–all in virtual reality!

The whole experience is made possible by 4DSCI. A ticket costs just five dollars and the virtual reality tour lasts for perhaps ten minutes. If you want to experience San Diego in a whole new way, head down to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park and check it out!

Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Around the corner is the VR Theater...
Around the corner is the VR Theater…
The fun kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can experience the virtual reality in every direction.
The fun, kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can easily turn and experience the virtual reality in every direction.
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the places that will surround you--as if you are there!
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the beautiful places that will surround you–as if you are there!

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!

Row and paddle on Mission Bay for the Cure!

Today I learned about a very cool event!

On Saturday, October 13 people from all walks of life will be rowing and paddling to cure breast cancer! Rowers, canoers, outrigger canoers, dragon boats, kayakers and stand up paddle boarders are all invited!

The 18th Annual Row For The Cure will take place on Mission Bay and benefits Susan G. Komen San Diego. Funds raised will go toward helping those affected by breast cancer, providing education and screenings, and ultimately finding a cure.

This aquatic event on gentle Mission Bay will feature both a beginner’s course and a competitive course. If you don’t own a paddleboard, you’ll be able to rent one on-site.

To learn more or sign up, visit the event webpage here!

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Photos of RC boats racing for San Diego Cup!

Today I headed over to Mission Bay’s large model yacht pond, located near the center of Vacation Isle Park, to watch gasoline-powered high speed RC boats race for the San Diego Cup!

The exciting annual event is hosted by the San Diego Argonauts, who sail and race a variety of model boats on the saltwater pond. I blogged about the San Diego Argonauts and hobbyists maneuvering remote control sailboats out on the pond here.

San Diego Cup weekend features over 160 RC powerboats in dozens of classes, brought in by groups from all over Southern California and Arizona. The local group is called SD Gassers.

I spoke to a few people and watched several races. I learned that the model speedboats are built from kits, and that the different classes are determined by the size of the boat. I observed that after contestants are told to start their engines (which at times is problematic) there is a countdown to the beginning of the race. After tossing their boats into the water, it appeared that getting in optimal position for the start was an important aspect of the strategy.

These amazing little powerboats can go over 60 miles per hour! Boats are readied and repaired on the shore and good times are had by all contestants.

It definitely appears to be a fun hobby!

The racing continues through Sunday and anybody can watch from the grassy shore. If you’re in San Diego, head over to the model yacht pond in Mission Bay and check it out!

I took some photos of the action…

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 taste of the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

A giant smiling lemon greets me at the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!
A giant smiling lemon greets me at the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

I’ve never been to Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival before. So this year I thought I’d take the trolley down to the South Bay to experience this big annual event!

Not only is the Lemon Festival, which takes place along a stretch of Third Avenue, a whole lot of fun, but visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history of Chula Vista and how it once was a major center of the Southern California citrus industry.

With construction of the Sweetwater Dam completed in 1888, and the arrival of the railroad in the South Bay, Chula Vista became the perfect place to grow sun-loving lemons. At one point in the early 20th century there were nearly two thousand acres of lemon groves in the area. Chula Vista even called itself the Lemon Capital of the World.

Today lemon trees are chiefly found in backyards. After World War II, the large groves began to make way for houses. Some of the developers would leave one lemon tree in the backyard of new homes.

I did see loads of lemons during the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival: lemon art, lemon costumes, lemons in treats, lemonade . . . Lemon yellow everywhere!

See for yourself!

About 50,000 people would turn out for the yearly lemon-themed event.
About 50,000 people would turn out for the yearly lemon-themed event.
These ladies had all sorts of sweet lemon treats for sale.
These ladies had all sorts of sweet lemon treats for sale.
Some friendly people from the Restored Church posed so that a blogger could take a funny photo at their booth.
Some friendly people from the Restored Church posed so that a blogger could take a funny photo at their Lemon Festival booth.
Artists at the Lemon Festival had all sorts of colorful artwork for sale that contained bright yellow.
Artists at the Lemon Festival had all sorts of colorful artwork for sale that contained bright yellow.
This lady registering people to vote had a cool lemon slice umbrella hat and smile.
This lady registering people to vote had a cool lemon slice umbrella hat and smile.
More ice cold lemonade! Sounds good on a hot summer day in San Diego's South Bay.
More ice cold lemonade! Sounds good on a hot summer day in San Diego’s South Bay.
Even this funny pooch in a wagon was selling lemonade!
Even this funny pooch in a wagon was selling lemonade!
The Chula Vista Historical Society had a booth with books and fascinating information.
The Chula Vista Historical Society had a booth with books and fascinating information.
Their display showed Chula Vista's agricultural past. Many packing companies once exported lemons around the world.
Their display showed Chula Vista’s agricultural past. Many growers and packing companies once exported lemons around the world. Some of the beautiful old crate labels have become valuable collectibles.
The display explains different grades of lemons, including culls, which were blemished, and used to make juice, furniture polish, and other by-products.
The display explains different grades of lemons, including culls, which were blemished, and used to make juice, furniture polish, and other lemon by-products.
The festival had just started and these ladies with the Third Avenue Village Association, that puts on the popular event, were putting the finishing touches on their booth.
The festival had just started and these ladies with the Third Avenue Village Association, that puts on the popular event, were almost done decorating their booth.
Another booth at the Lemon Festival had lots of old historical photographs.
Another booth at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival featured lots of interesting historical photographs.
Someone points to a photo of workers in a lemon grove at the Higgins Ranch in Keen Valley, 1901.
Someone points to a photo of workers in a lemon grove at the Higgins Ranch in Keen Valley, 1901.
Aerial photo of the Boltz lemon ranch in the mid 1920's.
Aerial photo of the Boltz lemon ranch in the mid 1920’s.
Typical Chula Vista lemon packing plant, circa 1920's.
Typical Chula Vista lemon packing plant, circa 1920’s.
Old photos of Chula Vista streetcar and train at Third Avenue.
Old photos of Chula Vista streetcar and train at Third Avenue.
Bonita lemon pickers, 1913.
Bonita lemon pickers, 1913.
Meanwhile, people spin a lemon-themed prize wheel at the festival.
Meanwhile, people spin a lemon-themed prize wheel at the festival.
At the Lemonade Bandstand, entertainment included live music, a largest lemon and lemon peel contest, a lemon costume contest, and lemon pie eating contest.
At the Lemonade Bandstand, entertainment included live music, a largest lemon and lemon peel contest, a lemon costume contest, and lemon pie eating contest.
People watch the Lemon Squeezers play rock and roll music with a twist!
People watch the Lemon Squeezers play rock and roll music with a twist!
Cool local band, the Lemon Squeezers, at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
Cool local band, the Lemon Squeezers, at the Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
That great music has people dancing!
That great music has people smiling and dancing!
Batman and Wonder Woman dropped on by and posed for a photo by the Lemon Bar sign.
Batman and Wonder Woman dropped on by and posed for a photo by the Lemon Bar sign.
All that fun made me thirsty for some lemonade!
All that fun has made me thirsty for some lemonade!

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The miracle of baseball for special needs kids!

These guys with The Miracle League of San Diego help make dreams come true for special needs kids who love baseball!
These guys with The Miracle League of San Diego help make dreams come true for special needs kids who love baseball!

I met some inspirational people today.

During my visit to the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista, as I walked down Third Avenue past dozens of booths, my eye was caught by a banner with the words Miracle League. When I asked what that meant, four friendly guys explained how their organization, called The Miracle League of San Diego, provides special needs kids around San Diego County with the opportunity to play baseball!

How cool is this?

Special needs players, with the assistance of volunteer buddies, play on special rubberized baseball fields at Engel Family Field in Del Mar and at Bell Middle School. The unique playing fields accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and the sight-impaired. Players and buddies are matched for an entire Spring or Fall season, and every player scores in fun two inning games that end in a tie. Players are ages five and up. Buddies are kind, patient community volunteers!

According to The Miracle League of San Diego website, announcers are provided with index cards about each player so they have ample material to highlight every at bat. Special needs kids become baseball superstars!

Do you know a special needs kid who’d love to play baseball? Would you like to be a volunteer buddy? Do you want to learn more?

Click to visit their website here!

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Art exhibit paints colors of Southern California!

Earthlab, 2017, by artist Eva Struble. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Optimistic and energetic colors depict small San Diego farms.
Earthlab, 2017, by artist Eva Struble. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Optimistic and energetic colors depict small San Diego farms.

Today I enjoyed some stimulating artwork at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. Their current exhibition is called High-Key: Color in Southern California, and for a very good reason.

Palm greens, desert tans and ocean blues are primary colors in our region’s sunny landscapes.

Additional vibrant colors live in our diverse urban centers. Like neon and surfboards, lowriders and pinatas, our local culture is saturated with bold, bright color.

High-Key: Color in Southern California can be enjoyed at the San Diego Art Institute through August 12, 2018.

If you visit Balboa Park this summer, you might want to check it out!

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park absorbs the exhibition of High-Key: Color in Southern California.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park at the exhibition of High-Key: Color in Southern California.
Chaparral (II), 2018, by artist Audrey Hope. Canvas and hand wound rope. Swaths of colorful fabric are suggestive of San Diego's natural landscape.
Chaparral (II), 2018, by artist Audrey Hope. Canvas and hand wound rope. Swaths of colorful fabric are suggestive of San Diego’s hilly, arid natural landscape.
Green, Red-Orange, 2018, by artist Michael James Armstrong. Acrylic sheet, fluorescent light, spray paint.
Green, Red-Orange, 2018, by artist Michael James Armstrong. Acrylic sheet, fluorescent light, spray paint.
Untitled, 2018, by artist Joshua Moreno. Watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache, marbling, spray paint.
Untitled, 2018, by artist Joshua Moreno. Watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache, marbling, spray paint.
Cleaning Portrait; Whisk #1, 2017, by artist Claudia Cano. Acrylic on paper. A cleaning tool used by a hardworking Mexican immigrant laborer.
Cleaning Portrait; Whisk #1, 2017, by artist Claudia Cano. Acrylic on paper. A cleaning tool used by a hardworking Mexican immigrant laborer.
More artwork splashed with the vibrant colors of Southern California.
More artwork splashed with the vibrant colors of Southern California.
Rhubarb Moon, 2018, by artist John Oliver Lewis. Porcelain, acrylic.
Rhubarb Moon, 2018, by artist John Oliver Lewis. Porcelain, acrylic.
Paradise Prototype, 2018, by artist Allison Wiese. Cast sugar. Patterned concrete blocks were popular in Southern California architecture in the 1950s and 60s.
Paradise Prototype, 2018, by artist Allison Wiese. Cast sugar. Patterned concrete blocks were popular in Southern California in the 1950’s and 60’s.

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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