Photos of Tanabata Festival in Balboa Park!

Late this afternoon I stepped into the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to enjoy their first ever Tanabata Festival!

I arrived half an hour before the festival officially opened, and as time progressed more and more people arrived for this joyful summer event. I lingered for a while to enjoy the sights, smells and tastes, and to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture and the Tanabata holiday.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden website: “Originating from Chinese folklore, Tanabata is a holiday that celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi. Separated by the Milky Way, the stars Orihime and Hikoboshi are able to meet once per year on the seventh day of the seventh month. On Sunday, July 7th, JFG has partnered with the Minatomo Japanese Community to have their inaugural Tanabata Festival in San Diego!”

As I walked randomly about I learned about the Tanabata tradition of tanzaku: wishes are written on small pieces of paper which are then hung with other happy decorations on bamboo. I paused to admire some living moss art–kokedama. I then walked down into the Lower Garden.

Outside the Inamori Pavilion yummy Japanese food was being prepared. Inside the elegant pavilion there was artwork, including some bright, very colorful fluorescent paintings. I caught the first scheduled performance in the pavilion, which was an onigiri (rice ball) preparation demonstration. I was shown how to easily fold a paper flower.

I then headed back to the Upper Garden and listened as Write Out Loud presented a Japanese fairy tale. I paused to admire a bunch of origami artwork that was being created.

Every person I met was smiling.

I hope this is the first of many wonderful Tanabata Festivals at the Japanese Friendship Garden. That is my wish.

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!

Working on the trolley tracks along C Street.

Forgive me for posting the following photos. I have a boyish love for trains.

This morning and afternoon I walked along C Street to and from the City College trolley station. I simply had to pause to watch as workers tore up a section of old asphalt and rails running down the center of the street, then later as the workers carefully dumped and leveled new track ballast. I asked one friendly guy who seemed to be supervising if the rails were old and he replied that was the case!

According to some signs, work on this section of trolley tracks will be completed this weekend.

As you can see in the final photo, I wasn’t the only one intrigued by all the activity!

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, food and fun at the Greek Festival!

My adventures today included a brief visit to the San Diego Greek Festival at the Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church. It’s their 50th Annual Greek Festival!

I was heading down Park Boulevard when I suddenly remembered the festival was this weekend. So I pulled the cord on the bus and jumped off to enjoy a little of the fun!

I saw Greek dancing, some folk costumes and people enjoying authentic Greek food. It’s a wonderful San Diego tradition that everyone should experience!

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!

Wreath ceremony on USS Midway honors heroes.

This morning I attended a special Memorial Day weekend ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway. Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our precious freedom were remembered and honored.

A community band played. The National Anthem was sung. Two vintage warplanes passed overhead. The colors were retired.

Veterans and those who fell in battle were thanked with moving speeches. Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, commander of Navy Region Southwest, spoke powerfully about protecting liberty. I jotted down a few of her words. “Our banner of Freedom soaring high . . . others before self . . . honoring their lives and their great sacrifices . . .”

Veterans in attendance were asked to speak into a microphone and tell everyone where they served. Repeated applause.

Four wreaths honoring those who’ve gone before were tossed from the flight deck into San Diego Bay, and a fifth was tossed from the Maritime Museum’s restored Swift Boat.

Harbor Patrol boats signaled their honor with columns of water.

Many salutes.

Fluttering flags in sunlight.

Proud faces.

Faces of those who have served their nation.

Faces of those who remember.

Faces of those who will never, ever forget.

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!

Intertribal dancing at Balboa Park Pow Wow.

My walking adventure today took me through Balboa Park and North Park.

I paused for a bit to watch the joyful intertribal dancing at the 31st Annual Balboa Park Pow Wow.

The Balboa Park Pow Wow, which is held on Mother’s Day weekend, is organized by the San Diego American Indian Health Center. The traditional event features Kumeyaay Bird Singers, Gourd Dancing, and a variety of Native American drum groups.

Many diverse peoples, colors and dances came together in a celebration of 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!

Cool discoveries at the Encinitas Street Fair!

There was a lot to see and do at the 36th Annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair!
There was much to see and do at the 36th Annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair!

This morning I rode the Coaster north to Encinitas. It’s the weekend of the big annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair!

Lots of food, art and entertainment could be found along many blocks of South Coast Highway 101. As I slowly walked along, I made a whole bunch of cool discoveries. It seemed I encountered new surprises every few steps!

Several tents featured art that I particularly liked. I also met some interesting people, found out about noteworthy community projects, and learned a tiny bit about the history of Encinitas.

(Click photos that contain information and they will expand for much easier reading.)

People fill several blocks of scenic Highway 101 and enjoy a fine April weekend at the Encinitas Spring Street Fair.
People fill several blocks of scenic Highway 101 and enjoy a fine April weekend at the Encinitas Spring Street Fair.
One of these artistic surfboards for sale has Encinitas written on it.
One of these artistic surfboards for sale has Encinitas written on it.
One of the guys at the City of Encinitas booth had a big smile!
One of the guys at the City of Encinitas booth had a smile!
I spotted a fun map of Encinitas in a shop window. It illustrates many landmarks and local businesses in this awesome beach city.
I spotted a fun map of Encinitas in a shop window. It illustrates many landmarks and local businesses in this awesome beach city.
A dog heads over to smell some locally grown flowers.
A dog heads over to smell some locally grown flowers.
Some sweet treats to eat, and another smile!
Some sweet treats to eat, and another smile!
More yummy food on the grill.
More yummy food on a grill.
The band Nathan & Jessie provide some sidewalk entertainment. Check out nathanandjessie.com
The local band Nathan & Jessie provide some sidewalk entertainment. Check out nathanandjessie.com
More fun stuff!
Some silly stuff!
Author Scott Sussman was autographing his fun kids books. His website is octopusinkpress.com. Weird the Beard sounds like several characters I know.
Author Scott Sussman was autographing his kids books. His website is octopusinkpress.com. Weird the Beard sounds like several characters I know.
Beautiful, translucent Scented Gem Candles in different fantastic shapes could be seen at the Gemtera table.
Beautiful, translucent Scented Gem Candles in different fantastic shapes could be seen at the Gemtera table.
Sea-themed artwork by Marea Baja.
Sea-themed artwork by Marea Baja. Check out mareabajadesigns.com
Her sea glass mosaics are created from surf tumbled sea glass collected on the beach!
Her sea glass mosaics are created from surf tumbled sea glass collected on the beach!
The yellow Old School Shave Ice school bus has arrived!
The yellow “Old School Shave Ice” school bus has arrived!
Someone rides their bike down Highway 101 past this beach sunset mural by @CloeHakakian
Someone walks their bike down Highway 101 past this beach sunset mural by @CloeHakakian
Encinitas artist Carla Funk had many fantastic pieces displayed at her table.
Encinitas artist Carla Funk had many fantastic pieces displayed at her table.
I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH
I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH
Carla Funk offers Art Camp in Encinitas, featuring classes in ceramics, painting and drawing. Her website is ArtTilesByCarla.com
Carla Funk offers Art Camp in Encinitas, featuring classes in ceramics, painting and drawing. Her website is ArtTilesByCarla.com
I spun the prize wheel of North Island Credit Union and won some sunscreen, which I promptly put on my nose.
I spun the prize wheel of North Island Credit Union and won some sunscreen, which I promptly put on my nose.
The San Diego County Fair had a table with these free fans. The theme in 2019 is the Wizard of Oz! It's gonna be OZsome!
The San Diego County Fair had a table with these free fans. The theme in 2019 is the Wizard of Oz! It’s gonna be OZsome!
Think Possible Apparel has unique screen-printed shirts with tiny positive phrases forming cool designs. Check out ThinkPossibleApparel.com
Think Possible Apparel has unique screen-printed shirts with tiny positive phrases forming cool designs. Check out ThinkPossibleApparel.com
Officers of the San Diego Sheriff's Department Senior Volunteer Patrol told me they need volunteers. You can serve your community and meet cool friends!
Officers of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Senior Volunteer Patrol told me they need volunteers. You can serve your community and meet cool friends!
I'm greeted by a big smile beside a collection of books! Teri is of Top Reads Publishing, found at topreadspublishing.com
I’m greeted by a big smile above a collection of books! Teri is of Top Reads Publishing, found at topreadspublishing.com
These books are by authors around Southern California. If you're an author or reader, learn more at sandiego.readlocal.org
These books are by authors around Southern California. If you’re an author or reader, learn more at sandiego.readlocal.org
Here's some info concerning PWSD, Publishers and Writers San Diego.
Here’s some info concerning PWSD, Publishers and Writers of San Diego.
These nice folks from @kinndproject sell shirts with a golden message. 10 meals are donated for each item purchased. Visit their website kinndproject.com
These nice folks from @kinndproject sell shirts with a golden message. 10 meals are donated for each item purchased. Visit their website kinndproject.com
kindness is golden
kindness is golden
A vendor had this fun stuff at their table.
A vendor had this fun stuff at their table.
Some cool t-shirts.
Some cool t-shirts.
It's the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Help vets and get some salsa at whsfnow.org
It’s the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Help vets and get some salsa at whsfnow.org
These amazing rope animals were made by an outstanding artist in Thailand named Nong.
These amazing rope animals were made by an outstanding artist in Thailand named Nong.
The Encinitas Lions Club had a table at the Spring Festival.
The Encinitas Lions Club had a table at the Spring Festival.
Get a ticket for An American in Paris. Funds raised go toward a program that helps those who are blind learn to surf. Amazing!
Get a ticket for An American in Paris. Funds raised go toward a program that helps those who are blind learn to surf!
Here's my favorite of the festival. Pixie Village Cottages made from fallen logs by Dennis Patterson. Visit his website pixievillagecottages.com
Here’s my favorite of the festival. Pixie Village Cottages made from fallen logs by Dennis Patterson. Visit his website pixievillagecottages.com
Members of Team Paradox strike a pose!
Members of Team Paradox strike a pose!
Team Paradox is a group of local high school students who build robots. They compete with other high school teams around California, the United States and the world!
Team Paradox is a group of local high school students who build robots. They compete with other high school teams around California, the United States and the world!
Someone investigates displays at the Encinitas Historical Society tent.
Somebody investigates the fascinating displays at the Encinitas Historical Society’s tent.
I'm shown the Encinitas Historical Society's 1883 Schoolhouse on a shirt. The building overlooks the Pacific Ocean and today houses a museum.
I’m shown the Encinitas Historical Society’s 1883 Schoolhouse on a shirt. The building overlooks the Pacific Ocean and today houses a museum.
A poster details The 25th Annual Encinitas Heritage Tree Contest! The heritage tree was planted in 1952 above Moonlight Beach.
A poster details The 25th Annual Encinitas Heritage Tree Contest! The heritage tree was planted in 1952 above Moonlight Beach.
These historical photos are of old sites in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, just south of Encinitas.
These historical photos are of old sites in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, just south of Encinitas.
More historical photos of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
More historical photos of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
Ted White, The Song Peddler brought his cool bicycle piano contraption! Check out facebook.com/TedWhiteMusic
Ted White, The Song Peddler brought his cool bicycle piano contraption to the festival! Check out facebook.com/TedWhiteMusic

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!

Take a tour aboard a new Coast Guard cutter!

This weekend the general public has the rare opportunity to take a free tour aboard a brand new United States Coast Guard cutter! The USCGC Benjamin Bottoms, which is scheduled to be commissioned in San Diego this week, is presently docked on the Embarcadero just north of the Maritime Museum.

USCGC Benjamin Bottoms (WPC-1132) is a Sentinel-class or Fast Response cutter that has very advanced capabilities. The vessel will be based in San Pedro and will spend most of its time off the coast of Southern California engaging in maritime rescues, drug interdiction, and a variety of other missions.

I stepped aboard today and was greeted by smiling crew members, heroes who have saved the lives of many. I was permitted to take photos everywhere but inside the pilothouse, which contains the latest technology. I was told that almost everything on the cutter is computerized, with sensors and controls just about everywhere. This type of cutter is unique in that it is equipped with a bow thruster which allows for very nimble maneuvering.

After checking out the pilothouse, our tour headed to the rear of the cutter where a small Cutterboat – Over the Horizon inflatable boat can be quickly released into the ocean or pulled back aboard. With its jet drive, the cutterboat has the ability to pursue and overtake very fast vessels.

We then went inside the Benjamin Bottoms to see its galley, a central dining and meeting area, and some officer quarters.

When you take a tour of the vessel, a friendly crew member will also tell you how the ship got her name. To summarize, using the words of Wikipedia: “Benjamin Bottoms was a United States Coast Guard radio operator who died while attempting to rescue the crew of a USAAF bomber that had crashed-landed in Greenland in November 1942.”

Head down to the Embarcadero tomorrow between 9 am and 2 pm and enjoy a fascinating tour and say Thank You to some genuine heroes!

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!