Give a Christmas toy to less fortunate children.

Numerous elves show up at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during 2017 Christmas on the Prado.
Happy elves magically appear at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for Christmas on the Prado.

If you would like to give a special Christmas gift to less fortunate children in San Diego, here’s a wonderful idea!

This coming Saturday and Sunday afternoon–December 1 and 2, 2018–toys will be collected by Toys for Tots during the 5th Annual Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.

Bring a new unwrapped toy . . . or two . . . or three!

Here’s an even more wonderful idea! Host a toy drive at your work, church or special event and bring lots of toys!

If you happen to swing by Balboa Park on Saturday, you’ll be able to watch the lighting of the community Christmas tree in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at 6:30 pm, then Sing Along with Santa!

Click here to learn more!

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100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in Balboa Park.

Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.
Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.

This Sunday will be the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

Armistice Day marks the end of World War One. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the horrifying “war to end all wars” finally ended. (In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in the United States.)

On Sunday in Balboa Park something special will take place to honor the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

The carillon inside the California Tower will chime at 11:00 am not the usual 11 times, but 21 times. After it chimes 21 times, Taps will be played. An hour later, at noon, the carillon bells will play a medley of WWI songs.

A variety of events in Balboa Park are also planned for Veterans Day weekend.

Several I’ve noted are:

Friday, beginning at 5 pm, at the San Diego Museum of Art. Free admission to the museum, where visitors can see the fantastic Artists at War: American Posters of World War I exhibition. Enjoy artwork and presentations by local veterans groups, the Air and Space Museum, a performance by Westwind Brass, and a screening of the 1938 classic The Dawn Patrol.

Saturday, 3 pm – 4 pm, at the Veterans Museum. A free preview by the San Diego Opera of their upcoming production of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which concerns a brief, miraculous “unofficial armistice” that occurred in the trenches during World War One.

Sunday, 11 am – 5:30 pm, at the Balboa Park Carousel. A free ride will be provided to all veterans, active military and their families, courtesy of the Friends of Balboa Park. In addition, the Historical Unit of Southern California will have a special WWI commemoration at eleven o’clock.

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!

Polynesian canoe Hikianalia visits San Diego!

Traditional voyaging canoe Hikianalia docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the County Administration Building in the background.
Photo of traditional voyaging canoe Hikianalia docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, with the County Administration Building in the background.

Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego are in for a special treat this weekend!

I noticed during my evening walk along the Embarcadero that the traditional voyaging canoe Hikianalia is visiting from Hawaii. And the public is invited to come aboard for tours!

The Hikianalia, of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, has sailed over 2800 miles across the Pacific Ocean and down the California coast. Crew members are engaging in cultural exchanges and spreading a positive environmental message at every port they visit. The amazing Hikianalia uses sustainable, Earth-friendly technology, including electric motors that are powered by onboard photovoltaic panels.

I hadn’t realized the Hikianalia had arrived a couple days ago, and that Mayor Kevin Faulconer declared October 30, “Hikianalia Day” in San Diego! The canoe’s crew members were greeted by representatives of the Kumeyaay Nation and welcome chants and hula from San Diego’s Hawaiian community.

To see photos of the Hikianalia’s arrival in San Diego and the colorful welcoming ceremony, click here.

After public canoe tours this weekend at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the Hikianalia will prepare to return to Hawaii in mid-November.

Hikianalia is welcomed to San Diego during its California Voyage. The public can enjoy weekend tours of the canoe at the Maritime Museum.
Hikianalia is welcomed to San Diego during its California Voyage. The public can enjoy weekend tours of the technologically advanced Polynesian canoe at the Maritime Museum.
Hikianalia docked near several historic vessels of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Hikianalia docked on San Diego Bay near several historic vessels of the Maritime Museum.

UPDATE!

I stepped aboard the canoe on Sunday!

I learned from a crew member that the canoe primarily uses sail power, but will employ its solar-powered engines when coming into port.

Their ocean voyage has included some research and data collection, including analysis of the fish they catch. DNA is collected and each fish is checked to see whether it has eaten any plastic garbage.

The crew of Hikianalia has also transmitted their positive environmental message to students around the world, working with many schools.

Visitors check out the Hikianalia during its visit to San Diego.
Visitors check out the Hikianalia during its visit to San Diego.
This cool dude up on the passenger deck of the Berkeley was playing mellow island music.
This cool dude up on the passenger deck of the Berkeley was playing mellow island music.

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As we waited in line, a crew member told us about their current voyage down the California coast, and explained this map of an earlier ocean journey. Their next voyage will be around the Pacific Rim, including a visit to Alaska.
As we waited in line, a crew member told us about their current voyage down the California coast, and explained this map of an earlier ocean journey. Their next voyage will be around the Pacific Rim, including a visit to Alaska.
Almost to the front of the line!
Almost to the front of the line!
Getting ready to board the Hikianalia.
Getting ready to board the Hikianalia.
Lots of curious visitors were walking about the wooden deck of the Polynesian canoe.
Lots of curious visitors were walking about the wooden deck of the Polynesian voyaging canoe.
Everyone had to check out the huge oar-like rudder.
Everyone had to check out the huge oar-like rudder.
Garlands of tropical flowers decorate the bow of Hikianalia.
Garlands of tropical flowers decorate the bow of Hikianalia.
These friendly crew members selling t-shirts smiled for my camera!
These friendly crew members selling t-shirts smiled for my camera!

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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!

Beautiful works of glass art in Balboa Park!

Beautiful works of art on display at the Glass Show and Sale in Spanish Village.
Beautiful works of art on display at the Glass Show and Sale in Spanish Village.

Glass art never ceases to fascinate me.

Pieces of shining glasswork often appear like gems that have been mined from a place deep in the artist’s heart, then melted, shaped and recrystallized, as if upon a fiery potter’s wheel.

This weekend the Glass Show and Sale is being held on the patio of Balboa Park’s Spanish Village. The twice-a-year event is the production of the Art Glass Guild in Studio 25.

I took some photos today and met a few of the gifted artists.

If you love beautiful things and happen to be in San Diego, head over before the weekend ends!

The first five photos you see here show glasswork created by Patricia G. Yockey, who also happens to be very nice.
The first five photographs you see here show glasswork created by Patricia G. Yockey, who also happens to be very nice.

I like how colorful and cheerful these pieces are at one artist's table.
I like how colorful and cheerful these pieces are at one artist’s table.
This photo and the next show kilnformed art glass produced by Rick Knight Designs. The tray is made of glass strips that are shifted and fused back together.
This photo and the next show kilnformed art glass produced by Rick Knight Designs. The tray is made of glass strips that are shifted and fused back together.

These magical lampworked beads are by Cornelia Jarst. They can be used for different types of jewelry and accessories.
These magical lampworked beads are by Cornelia Jarst. They can be used for different types of jewelry and accessories.

Glass pumpkins in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving!
Glass pumpkins in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving!
The artist told me this amazing piece took a long, long time to make.
The artist told me this amazing glass piece took a long, long time to make.

This cool glass robot and the next two photos show small bits of hand etched dichroic glasswear made by ChrisStell CreativeArts.
This cool glass robot and the next two photos are small pieces of hand etched “dichroic glasswear” made by ChrisStell CreativeArts.
A fun, colorful face.
A fun, colorful face.

These clocks, some made with circuit boards from discarded computers, are the fused glass creations of The Glass Giraffe, Carol Korfin, artist.
These clocks–some made with circuit boards from discarded computers–are the fused glass creations of The Glass Giraffe, Carol Korfin, artist.

Many beautiful works of glass art can be seen and purchased this weekend in Balboa Park at Spanish Village.
Many beautiful works of glass art can be seen and purchased this weekend in Balboa Park at the always wonderful Spanish Village!

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 Vista’s Annual Viking Festival!

Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.
Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.

Today I headed up to Vista to enjoy the 16th Annual Viking Festival, which is being held this weekend in and around Norway Hall.

This very popular festival features everything Norse, including costumes, crafts, cultural demonstrations, live music on two stages, and a wide variety of spirited competitions. There’s a Viking Beard Competition, a Viking Horn Blowing contest, a Kids Fish Fling, a Guardians of Midgard Chest Game, and an epic All Weapons Tournament. Although I didn’t stay to watch, I learned that Saturday evening concludes with spectacular flaming axe throwing!

I arrived shortly after the gate opened, then wandered about taking it all in before the festival became extremely crowded.

Here come a bunch of photos!

The Vista Viking Festival continues on Sunday. If you’re in the area, you might want to head on over yourself! If you don’t care for big crowds, come early!

The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista's Norway Hall and put on the festival.
I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista’s Norway Hall and put on the festival.
The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!
The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!
Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!
Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!
It appears I've entered Viking territory!
It appears I’ve entered Vikings territory!
In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by Norsemen long ago.
In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by fierce Norsemen long ago.
A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.
A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.
Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.
Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.
Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.
Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.
I hadn't realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!
I hadn’t realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!
The festival's Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.
The festival’s Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.
These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.
These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.
A lady at work making Viking crafts.
A lady at work making Viking crafts.
This friendly Viking welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.
This friendly Viking gent welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.
Signs explained different aspect of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble, ruled over by Odin.
Signs explained different aspects of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble and are ruled over by Odin.
The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.
The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.
Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking's hair was often proportionate to their social status. Elaborate braids would be tended by servants.
Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking’s hair was often representative of their social status. Long, elaborate braids would be “sewn together” and tended by servants.
Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.
Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.
One vendor created these very cool stained glass dragons.
One vendor was showing these very cool stained glass dragons.
Another vendor had magic runes for sale.
Another vendor had magic runes for sale.
Another sold lots of colorful mugs.
Another had a big inventory of very colorful mugs.
These bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!
These funny bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!
A metalsmith was at work in the festival's Northern Territory.
A metalsmith was at work in the festival’s Northern Territory.
So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.
So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.
More armor and weaponry that might have been used by warring Norsemen.
More armor and weaponry that might have been used by marauding Norsemen.
Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.
Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.
Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.
Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.
This funny warrior was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.
This funny fellow was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.
I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.
I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.
One vendor had all sorts of fantastic figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.
One vendor had all sorts of fantastic, glittering figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.
Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.
Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.
A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.
A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.
I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin's Forge.
I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin’s Forge.
Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.
Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.
At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival can try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.
At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.
Aiming for the dragon!
Aiming for the dragon!
Cheers!
And there’s a large beer garden, too. Cheers!

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!

Action photos from Labor Day weekend stickball!

Today I enjoyed watching an action-packed game of stickball in Little Italy.

San Diego’s annual Labor Day weekend stickball tournament has become a big community event, with sponsors and media coverage and people on lawn chairs lining sidewalks watching players crush the spaldeen. A solid swing of the broom handle will launch the ball like a rubber rocket to the other end of the block!

When games are underway, I always make it a point to walk through Little Italy, so I can hang out for a bit and watch the stickball teams compete for fame and glory. The action is intense but it’s all in good fun.

I learned that this year the stickball teams are all local. The game I watched had a number of exciting plays.

Here come photos that capture a bit of the flavor…

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!

US National Beat Poet Laureate in Balboa Park!

Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.

Tomorrow you have a chance to hear US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, Chris Vannoy, read live poetry in Balboa Park! He’ll be performing with local poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. (Poetic Expeditionary Nation of Semanticists) in the Zoro Garden beginning at 2 pm.

Today during my extensive walk through Balboa Park, I happened to stumble upon this summer’s weekend Garden Theatre Festival. As I entered the stony, amphitheater-like Zoro Garden, live poetry readings were underway. Everyone in the audience was invited up to the microphone to read poetry!

And wouldn’t you know it, I was fortunate to enjoy several readings by Chris Vannoy, who will soon be named the United States Beat Poet Laureate by the National Beat Poetry Foundation!

I’d heard Chris perform with The Mightier P. E. N. S. a couple years ago, and blogged about that event here.

His hard-hitting beat poetry is vivid and resonant. His words are like the many butterflies that flit through the garden–bright sparks in the sunlight–burning red hot for just a moment–each a revelation–a brief glimpse of something elemental. Delicate words, transient words, an incantation of power spoken briefly into the wind.

Congratulations to a local poet whose voice is now magnified! And whose smile appears to be indomitable!

The Garden Theatre Festival continues through Sunday August 19, 2018. Live performances are enjoyed free to the public in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden.
The Garden Theatre Festival continues through Sunday August 19, 2018. Live performances are enjoyed free to the public in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden.
Chris Vannoy of the local poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. expresses thought and emotion with vigorous words as the audience listens and reacts.
Chris Vannoy of the San Diego poetry group The Mightier P.E.N.S. expresses complex thought and emotion with vigorous words as the audience listens and reacts.
Two in the audience listen to powerfully spoken truth.
Two in the audience listen to a poet’s powerfully spoken truth.
Someone in the audience signs up to read a poem. Anybody could participate during the event.
Someone in the audience signs up to read a poem. Anybody could participate during the event.
Chris Vannoy, who will be named US National Beat Poet Laureate in September, finishes and earns enthusiastic applause.
Chris Vannoy, who will be named US National Beat Poet Laureate in September, finishes his reading and earns enthusiastic applause.

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!