Joy and tradition at Balboa Park Pow Wow!

Joy and tradition. Mother's Day intertribal dancing at the Balboa Park Pow Wow.
Joy and tradition together. Mother’s Day intertribal dancing at the Balboa Park Pow Wow.

Here come some colorful photos!

The annual Balboa Park Pow Wow was held this Mother’s Day weekend. I swung on by to absorb some of the event. To feel the power.

What did I see?

Native American costume adds color and meaning to a sacred dance.
Native American costume adds life and meaning to a sacred dance.
Many vendors at the Balboa Park Pow Wow had Native American crafts and related gifts for sale.
Many vendors at the Balboa Park Pow Wow had Native American crafts and gifts for sale.
A drum group provides resonant rhythm. A strong, beating heart.
A drum group provides resonant rhythm. A strong, beating heart.
A young lady needed a bit of assistance due to a medical situation.
A young lady at the Pow Wow needed a bit of assistance due to a medical situation.
The crowd converged to fill a blanket with donated money.
The crowd converged to fill a blanket with donated money. (I took this photo toward the end, when the blanket had a nice heap of bills.)
Many young people were participating in the Pow Wow.
Many young people were participating in the Pow Wow.
A large tipi had been set up on the grass nearby. At the time I took this photo, nobody was around it.
A large tipi had been set up on the grass nearby. At the time I took this photo, nobody was around it.
More color at the very popular annual Balboa Park event.
More color at the very popular annual Balboa Park event.
The line for Kumeyaay Bread was super long! Must be super good!
The line for Kumeyaay Bread was super long! Must be good!
Joyful life. A generous spirit. A close family. Rich culture and sacred traditions.
Joyful life. A generous spirit. A close family. Rich culture and sacred traditions.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Vikings invade Balboa Park at House of Denmark!

Playing a once-popular medieval northern European game called Hare and Hounds in Balboa Park.
Playing a once-popular medieval northern European game called Hare and Hounds in Balboa Park.

This afternoon’s lawn program at the International Cottages was presented by the House of Denmark. I swung on by about an hour before the music and dance began, but lingered for a bit to check out several exhibits concerning Viking culture and history. I learned a lot!

Read the photo captions for explanations!

People enjoy a sunny San Diego afternoon outside the House of Denmark among the International Cottages.
People enjoy a sunny San Diego afternoon outside the House of Denmark among the International Cottages.
Poster inside the House of Denmark. Royalty in this oldest kingdom in the world has descended in a straight line for a thousand years.
Poster inside the House of Denmark. The royalty of this oldest kingdom in the world has descended in a straight line for a thousand years.
The House of Denmark had its lawn program this Sunday. Inside their cottage, many treats could be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park.
The House of Denmark had its lawn program this Sunday. Inside their cottage, many Scandinavian treats could be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park.
This very friendly gent was showing everybody how woodworking was done by Norse craftsmen. The Vikings controlled a large area of Europe and used local materials. He was using our own native Toyon for wood.
This very friendly gent was showing everybody how woodworking was done by Norse craftsmen. The Vikings controlled a large area of Europe and used local materials. He was using our own native Toyon for wood.  Soaking the wood in water makes it easier to carve.
All sorts of handmade wooden utensils. Good steel was somewhat rare back in the Viking days, so carving tools were prized possessions.
All sorts of handmade wooden utensils. Good steel was somewhat rare back in the Viking days, so carving tools like weapons were prized possessions.
Some Viking helmets on display along with chainmail hauberks!
Some Viking helmets on display along with chainmail hauberks!
A ceremonial drinking horn, axes, and other fascinating objects collected or created by Viking enthusiasts at the event.
A ceremonial drinking horn, axes, swords, and other fascinating objects collected or created by Viking enthusiasts at the event.
The gentleman with the shield told me all about Norse customs, mythology and history. He is a member of the Guardians of Midgard!
The gentleman with the shield told me all about Norse customs, mythology and history. He is a member of the Guardians of Midgard!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Beautiful Japanese brush art by Friends of Taka Sumi-e.

A talented gentleman demonstrates Japanese brush painting in Balboa Park. The traditional Asian art form is called Sumi-e.
A talented gentleman demonstrates Japanese brush painting in Balboa Park. The traditional Asian art form is called sumi-e.

You might enjoy these colorful photos.

Yesterday I strolled into the Casa del Prado to view an exhibition put on by the Friends of Taka Sumi-e, a society in San Diego whose members produce beautiful works of Japanese brush art. The room was filled with abundant life.

A couple of friendly people explained a little about the traditional Asian art form of sumi-e, or brush drawing. I learned that the “four treasures” are ink, stone, paper and brush. I learned a hard inkstick is rubbed in water against a rough, mortar-like inkstone to produce the ink. I learned that in Japan both calligraphy and painting often use ink produced this way.

I also observed how amazing the finished works can be. Take a look!

A fantastic Japanese Brush Painting Art Exhibition was held inside the Casa del Prado. The free event was put on by the Friends of Taka Sumi-e of San Diego.
A fantastic Japanese Brush Painting Art Exhibition was held inside the Casa del Prado. The free event was put on by the Friends of Taka Sumi-e of San Diego.
Many beautiful works of Japanese brush art could be admired by the public in the Casa del Prado.
Many beautiful works of Japanese brush art could be admired by the public in the Casa del Prado.
An ink stick was ground into the ink stone. The artist prepares her brush for another drawing.
An inkstick was ground into the inkstone. The artist prepares her brush for another drawing.
It's the year of the Rooster.
It’s the year of the Rooster.
A few careful strokes of the brush expresses eternity.
A few careful strokes of the brush expresses eternity.
Colorful butterflies have gathered atop this table.
Colorful butterflies have gathered atop this table.
A dragon.
A dragon.
A human figure.
A human figure.
Amazing finished artwork filled many tables. By artist Ileane Tatar.
Amazing finished artwork filled many tables. By artist Ileane Tatar.
A jumping green frog. By Ileane Tatar.
A jumping green frog. By Ileane Tatar.
A hen with chicks looks up at a rooster banner--a banner portrayed on a banner! Art by Louise Rendich.
A hen with chicks looks up at a rooster banner–a banner portrayed on a banner! Art by Louise Rendich.
Two fish and cherry blossoms, by Pat Wolfe.
Two koi and cherry blossoms, by Pat Wolfe.
I believe these might be storks. By artist Kazuko (Kay) Mese.
I believe these might be storks. By artist Kazuko (Kay) Mese.
A rugged landscape with ancient trees. By artist Debra Hirschy.
A rugged mountain landscape with ancient trees. By artist Debra Hirschy.
A humorous cat, by artist Karen Straus.
A humorous cat, by artist Karen Straus.
A trotting horse, by Louise Rendich.
A trotting horse, by Louise Rendich.
One could spend hours in this room.
One could spend hours in this room.
Superb flowers, very fine art by Takashi Ijichi.
Superb flowers, very fine art by Takashi Ijichi.
Another unique rooster with generous daubs of color.
Another unique rooster with generous daubs of color.
Delicate flowers and leaves, by artist Soon Chu.
Delicate flowers and leaves, by artist Soon Chu.
Pink blossoms above a volcano, by Marlene Leet.
Pink blossoms above a volcano, by Marlene Leet.
I would love to live here. Dreamy Japanese brush art by Marlene Leet.
I would love to live here. Dreamy Japanese brush art by Marlene Leet.
A furry feline. Rebecca Leet-Homung.
A furry feline. Rebecca Leet-Homung.
So much beauty to absorb. One's life is uplifted.
So much beauty to absorb. One’s life is uplifted.
A hummingbird, by artist Iris Lowe-Reiss.
A hummingbird, by artist Iris Lowe-Reiss.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Read my short story The Child and the Koi by clicking here!

Nudist colony recreated in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden!

Sign warns of simulated nudity at the Zoro Gardens in Balboa Park. It's a one day recreation of the historic 1935 nudist colony, arranged by Parkeology, supported by various art institutions.
Sign warns of simulated nudity at the Zoro Garden in Balboa Park. It’s a one day recreation of the historic 1935 nudist colony, arranged by Parkeology, supported by various art institutions.

The historic 1935 Zoro Garden Nudist Colony was recreated today in Balboa Park!

The unusual one day event was produced by Parkeology, an organization that according to their flyer “is a public art series that excavates sites, stories, and sense of our urban parks”.

In 1935, San Diego opened the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, trying to replicate the enormous success of the earlier 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The main intent of this “world’s fair” was to promote economic activity during the Great Depression. Various lowbrow entertainments created for the exposition were designed to lure a popular crowd.

Well, today’s recreation of the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony certainly did draw some eyeballs, and a very wide range of reactions!

It was interesting to note most participants appeared to be college age females. The literature suggests the motivation for the event was at least partly political, stating “the reincarnation of the 1935 nudist colony can be an accessible, diverse, intersectional, gender-non-conforming and body positive social experiment.”

One thing I know for certain. Take a walk through lively Balboa Park on any given day and you never know what surprises you might stumble upon!

Visitors to Balboa Park view a reenactment of the nudist colony that was a sensational attraction here during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Visitors to Balboa Park view a reenactment of the nudist colony that was a sensational attraction here during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A variety of placid picnic-like activities are undertaken by the supposed naturists. The literature suggests a political motivation--a body positive social experiment.
A variety of placid, picnic-like activities are undertaken by the supposed naturists.
Body suits worn by people in the Zoro Garden simulate nudity.
Flesh-colored bodysuits worn by people in the Zoro Garden simulate naked bodies.
A variety of reactions are provoked by this rather unusual sight in San Diego's most popular public park.
A variety of reactions were provoked by this rather unusual sight in a public park.
One of the nudist actors photographs another. One thing is for certain--one doesn't see this everyday!
One of the friendly “nude” actors photographs another. Not the sort of performance one often sees!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! Sometimes I encounter surprising things!  You can experience even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

A fun Hafa Adai Arts Festival in Balboa Park!

A speaker at the festival talks about his experiences aboard the Sakman Chamorro, an outrigger canoe once based in San Diego, but now in Guam.
A speaker at the festival talks about his experiences aboard the Sakman Chamorro, an outrigger canoe once based in San Diego, but now in Guam.

I enjoyed my walk today through the First Annual Hafa Adai Cultural Arts Festival in Balboa Park. The event was sponsored by the House of Chamorros, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Those who spent the day had much to experience, including Chamorro food, music, dance, crafts and cultural demonstrations.

I personally enjoyed listening to a talk about the outrigger canoe Sakman Chamorro and its crew of misfits. This traditional Chamorro canoe, built from a northern California redwood tree, used to be based in San Diego’s South Bay, but is now in Guam. I remember seeing the vessel docked by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and also at the 2015 Pacific Islander Festival in Mission Bay, which I blogged about here.

It appeared to me that everyone at today’s event was having a lot of fun! Hopefully this is the first of many Chamorro festivals in Balboa Park!

Many families gathered for the Hafa Adai Arts Festival in Balboa Park. Chamorro culture was celebrated on the lawn among the International Cottages.
Many families gathered for the Hafa Adai Arts Festival in Balboa Park. Chamorro culture was celebrated on the lawn among the International Cottages.
Food served up at the festival included red rice and barbeque chicken.
Food served up at the festival included red rice and barbeque chicken.
Traditional woven baskets, beautiful seashells, and other aspects of life in the Mariana Islands are displayed.
Traditional woven baskets, beautiful seashells, and other aspects of life in the Mariana Islands are displayed.
A detailed model of an ancient village A-frame hut. Archaeological records and historical accounts show Chamorros inhabited the Micronesia and Mariana Islands since 2000 B.C.
A detailed model of an ancient village A-frame hut. Archaeological records and historical accounts show Chamorros inhabited the Micronesia and Mariana Islands since 2000 B.C.
A fun, humorous demonstration of how to crack open a coconut.
A fun, humorous demonstration of how to crack open a coconut.
The flag of Guam flies at the Hafa Adai Cultural Arts Festival in Balboa Park!
The flag of Guam flies proudly at the Hafa Adai Cultural Arts Festival in Balboa Park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Bark at Balboa Park features Pooches on Parade!

A dog at 2017 Bark in Balboa Park greets a friendly person raising money for the San Diego Humane Society.
A dog at 2017 Bark in Balboa Park greets a friendly person raising money for the San Diego Humane Society.

I took a walk through Balboa Park before the Super Bowl began this afternoon. And I got some photos of 2017 Bark at Balboa Park and the famous annual Pooch Parade!

What is that? Read the captions to find out!

On Super Bowl Sunday, canine companions are converging to attend the 11th annual Bark in Balboa Park!
On Super Bowl Sunday, canine companions are converging on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion to attend the 11th Annual Bark in Balboa Park!
Humans and a best friend are ready to enjoy some organ music on a chilly afternoon.
Humans and a best friend are ready to enjoy some uplifting organ music on a chilly afternoon.
I saw lots of dogs in the audience!
I saw lots of dogs in the audience!
The San Diego Humane Society partners every year with the Spreckels Organ Society for this very special charitable event.
The San Diego Humane Society partners every year with the Spreckels Organ Society for this very special charitable event.
Guest Organist Russ Peck, who performs at San Diego Symphony Hall and the Balboa Theatre, stands by as rescue dogs in need of adoption are shown to the crowd.
Guest Organist Russ Peck, who often performs at San Diego Symphony Hall and the Balboa Theatre, stands near the organ bench as rescue dogs in need of adoption are introduced to the crowd.
And now, as the organ plays The Whistler and His Dog, the annual Parade of Pooches commences!
And now, as organist Russ Peck plays The Whistler and His Dog, the annual Parade of Pooches commences!
Lots of happy dogs file up onto the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Lots of happy dogs file up onto the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
It's a fun parade of furry four-footed friends at 2017 Bark in Balboa Park!
It’s a carefree fun parade of furry four-footed friends at 2017 Bark in Balboa Park!
A dog's love.
A dog’s love.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Christmas on the Prado returns to Balboa Park!

On Saturday, November 26, from 2-9, the public is invited to the 3rd Annual Christmas on the Prado. The charity event benefits Toys for Tots. Santa will be there!
On Saturday, November 26, from 2-9, the public is invited to the 3rd Annual Children’s Coalition Christmas on the Prado. The charity event benefits Toys for Tots. Santa will be there!

Many long-time residents of San Diego remember Christmas on the Prado, before the beloved event was altered a bit and renamed December Nights.

But how many people realize that Christmas on the Prado is returning this year to Balboa Park?  It’s true!

This next Saturday, November 26th, from 2-9, the 3rd Annual Christmas on the Prado (which is unrelated to December Nights) will be held in Balboa Park. The event will feature lots of family friendly entertainment, Christmas music, colorful lights, traditional food and drink, the beautiful Nativity Display at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion that so many love, and Santa! This joyful new Christmas on the Prado is put on by the San Diego Children’s Coalition and San Diego Community Christmas Center.

Think you might go? Check out the Christmas on the Prado website. And bring an unwrapped toy. The event benefits Toys For Tots!

The coffee and cookie shack in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion will be open providing holiday cheer.
The coffee and cookie shack in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion will be open during Christmas on the Prado providing holiday cheer.
A look at the old Community Christmas Tree in Balboa Park. The venerable old cedar was a part of many past Christmas On The Prado events. But it became sadly misshapen and is no longer used.
A look at the old Community Christmas Tree in Balboa Park. The venerable old cedar was a part of many past Christmas On The Prado events. But it became sadly misshapen and is no longer used.
Plaque at base of the old Community Christmas Tree, dedicated to the people of San Diego on December 25, 1981. For many years it was strung during the holidays with beautiful lights.
Plaque at base of the old Community Christmas Tree, dedicated to the people of San Diego on December 25, 1981. For many years it was strung during the holiday season with beautiful lights.
I took this photo a couple years ago during December Nights. The elaborate Nativity Display in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is fully restored and set up for 2016. It will be a c part of Christmas On The Prado!
I took this photo a couple years ago during December Nights. The Nativity Display in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is fully restored and ready for 2016.  It includes many traditional religious scenes leading to the birth of Christ.  It will be a central feature of Christmas on the Prado!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!