Projects underway to improve Balboa Park.

The California Tower Seismic Retrofit Project is well underway in Balboa Park.
The California Tower Seismic Retrofit Project is well underway in Balboa Park.

During my weekend visit to Balboa Park I noticed significant construction activity in several places.

Once completed, these projects will greatly improve the park. They’ll help ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the beautiful crown jewel of San Diego!

In addition to the three projects that I photographed, I also noticed the Mingei Museum’s monumental transformation is underway!

Construction work has begun at both ends of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five new structures will be built.
Construction work has begun at both ends of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five new structures will be built, to house nine nations or cultural units.
Repairs are underway at the Starlight Bowl, after a falling tree damaged parts of the historic outdoor amphitheater's entrance.
Repairs are underway at the Starlight Bowl, after a falling tree damaged parts of the historic outdoor amphitheater’s entrance.

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!

Midsummer celebration at House of Sweden!

During my Sunday walk through Balboa Park, I found myself enjoying the House of Sweden’s lawn program. Summer began several days ago, so they were having a midsummer celebration. Complete with a flower bedecked maypole!

Anticipating the afternoon’s entertainment, a large crowd had gathered on the grass at the center of the International Cottages.

Ladies in folk costume paraded with flags onto the stage and sang the American and Swedish national anthems. Followed by more songs. Different regional dresses were then showcased and explained. Then more music. A group took the stage to perform the popular music of ABBA.

On the patio of the House of Sweden’s cottage, all sorts of crafts, flowers and colorful works of art were on display. Inside the cottage pastries and other treats awaited.

I wandered about, took a few photos.

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!

A green St. Patrick’s Day in Balboa Park!

Ladies from the House of Ireland prepare for the St. Patrick's Day afternoon lawn program . . . with a smile!
Ladies from the House of Ireland prepare for the St. Patrick’s Day afternoon lawn program in Balboa Park . . . with a smile!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day!

Late this morning I began my walk through Balboa Park. My mission: to have fun photographing anything Irish or green!

What did my camera find?

Some traditional Irish food was already being served at the House of Ireland at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
In the late morning, traditional Irish food was already being served by the House of Ireland at Balboa Park’s International Cottages.
Over at the lawn bowling green, I saw many shirts of green!
Over at the lawn bowling green, I saw many shirts of green!
And I spotted another Irish t-shirt down at the archery range below the Cabrillo Bridge.
And I spotted another Irish t-shirt down at the archery range below the Cabrillo Bridge.
It seems people are wearing green for St. Patrick's Day all over Balboa Park!
It seems people are wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day all over Balboa Park!
It being St. Patrick's Day, Prado Perk has to serve Irish Tea Au Lait, of course!
Just for St. Patrick’s Day, Prado Perk was serving Irish Tea Au Lait!
And look what I found at Cafe in the Park inside the Casa de Balboa! Shamrock cookies!
And look what I found at Cafe in the Park, inside the Casa de Balboa! Shamrock cookies!
Someone is wearing green beads near the door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village Art Center!
Someone is wearing green beads near the door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village Art Center!
And look at all the green inside Studio 19, home of friendly glass artists!
And look at all the green inside Studio 19, home of super friendly glass artists!
I found lots of beautiful green in the Casa del Prado at the Spring Flower Show, presented by Ikebana International's San Diego Chapter.
I found lots of beautiful green in the Casa del Prado at the Spring Flower Show, presented by Ikebana International’s San Diego Chapter.
Beautiful green leaves.
Beautiful green leaves.
Of course, you can always find a lot of greenery inside Balboa Park's Botanical Building!
Of course, you can always find a lot of greenery inside Balboa Park’s Botanical Building!
I noticed some of the Super Sonic Samba School drummers were wearing green out on the grass by the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
I noticed some of the Super Sonic Samba School drummers were wearing green out on the grass by the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
Who needs to be Irish? Some people wore green just to join in the fun!
Who needs to be Irish? Some people wore green just to join in the fun!
Sprightly traditional Irish music could be enjoyed inside the House of Ireland during St. Patrick's Day in Balboa Park!
Sprightly traditional Irish music could be enjoyed inside the House of Ireland’s cottage during St. Patrick’s Day 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!

More photos of the Chinese New Year Festival!

Today I enjoyed spending some time at the Chinese New Year Festival in Balboa Park. I’ve already posted a few colorful photographs here.

Here come even more photos!

This annual festival celebrating the Lunar New Year is hosted by the House of China at the International Cottages. Food, dance and joyful cultural entertainment are abundant.

Yes, my House of Bao steamed bun was super delicious!

If you chuckle at the final photo, keep in mind that 2019 is the Year of the Pig!

The friendly people at this table sell fantastic pop-up greeting cards. Check out the next photo! I promised to link to their website!

A crowd gathers at the International Cottages outdoor stage as the afternoon’s entertainment is about to begin…

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!

A colorful celebration of Hungary’s culture!

Hungarian folk dance on stage at the House of Hungary lawn program in Balboa Park.
Hungarian folk dance on stage at the House of Hungary lawn program in Balboa Park.

This afternoon I caught a bit of the House of Hungary’s lawn program at the International Cottages in Balboa Park.

While I didn’t sample any of the Hungarian food (having previously eaten a big lunch), I did feast my eyes and ears on Hungarian culture, including traditional music, singing, dance, costume, and even a short but fascinating talk about fashion, for which Hungary is historically famous.

This annual celebration takes place on or about August 20, a national holiday in Hungary that memorializes the first King of Hungary, King Stephen I. Stephen was canonized by the Catholic Church, and his feast day is celebrated on the same day.

The Karpatok Hungarian Dance Ensemble entertains the audience with a traditional bottle dance.
The Kárpátok Hungarian Dance Ensemble entertains the audience with a traditional bottle dance.
The proud flag of Hungary could be spotted here and there in the crowd.
The proud flag of Hungary could be spotted here and there in the crowd.
A fashion designer and beauty queens await their turn on stage as a young man sings a Hungarian folk song.
A fashion designer and beauty queens await their turn on stage as a young man sings a Hungarian folk song.
Hungarian food at the program included sausage sandwiches, crepes (palacsinta), fried dough (lángos) and authentic Hungarian pastries.
Hungarian food at the program included sausage sandwiches, crepes (palacsinta), fried dough (lángos) and authentic Hungarian pastries.
People enjoyed eating sweet Kürtőskalács, which is also known as chimney cake.
People enjoyed eating sweet Kürtőskalács, which is also referred to as chimney cake.
San Diego Continuing Education fashion instructor Tammie Pontsler talks about an award-winning dress she made for the Salk design challenge.
San Diego Continuing Education fashion instructor Tammie Pontsler talks about an award-winning dress she made for the Salk design challenge.
Violinist from the Lux Ensemble entertains everybody with happy Hungarian music.
Violinist from the Lux Ensemble entertains everybody with happy Hungarian music.
The culture of Hungary is celebrated in Balboa Park at the International Cottages!
The culture of Hungary is celebrated in Balboa Park at the International Cottages!

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!

Historic tree, plaque removed from Balboa Park.

A historic tree that once stood at the center of Balboa Park's International Cottages has been cut down.
A historic tree that once stood at the center of Balboa Park’s International Cottages has been cut down.

I’m sure there must have been a good reason for the tree’s removal. Perhaps it had become unsafe.

According to a bronze plaque, the tree was planted near the center of Balboa Park’s International Cottages in 1932. The tree was dedicated in honor of Arthur E. Vest, Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. That historic plaque is now gone, too.

Perhaps someone reading this knows the complete story. If you do, please leave a comment.

I’ve been told by several people from the cottages that one day, a few months ago, a crew from San Diego Parks and Recreation simply cut the big shady tree down. One person that I spoke to today couldn’t provide a specific reason, but thought the tree’s removal had been carefully considered. I do hope so.

Now the tree and its plaque are gone. Just an image in some old photographs . . . or a slowly fading memory . . .

UPDATE!

I’ve learned that the oak tree had suffered a beetle infestation and was removed to protect other trees in Balboa Park. The historic plaque has been thankfully preserved. Its new home is the headquarters of the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

To learn more about the tree and the life of Arthur E. Vest, please visit this page of the National Woman’s Relief Corps website!

A photo of the old shady tree as it once lived in Balboa Park. It was removed one day and now it's gone.
A photo of the shady tree as it once lived in Balboa Park. It was removed one fateful day and now it’s gone.
Someone stands on the stump of the tree during a lawn program at the International Cottages.
Someone stands on the stump of the tree during a recent lawn program at the International Cottages.
Shortly after the tree was cut down, the plaque still remained.
Shortly after the tree was cut down, the plaque still remained.
Dedicated in Honor of Arthur E. Vest, Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, by the Womans Relief Corps Department of California and Nevada, May 16, 1932.
Dedicated in Honor of Arthur E. Vest, Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, by the Woman’s Relief Corps Department of California and Nevada, May 16, 1932.
And now the plaque is gone, too. A bit of history vanishes.
And now the plaque and its words have been removed, too. A bit of San Diego history is gone.

I live in downtown San Diego. I do my best to keep my eyes wide open as I walk.

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International Children’s Day in Balboa Park.

Youth in Mexican costume file across the stage. Children from many nations participated in today's event at the International Cottages.
Youth in Mexican costume file across the stage. Children from many nations participated in today’s event at the International Cottages.

International Children’s Day was celebrated this afternoon at the International Cottages in Balboa Park. The event was hosted by the House of Turkey, the nation that inspired this special day. Kids representing many nations took part.

Prior to a series of youthful performances, I learned during the introductory speech that every year on April 23 Turkey celebrates Children’s Day, a holiday created by modern Turkey’s founder Atatürk. He recognized that children would inherit that newly independent nation’s future. As a reminder, during Children’s Day the Turkish President, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and provincial governors all turn over their positions to children for that one day.

As this day has become more international, UNICEF now recognizes International Children’s Day.

Guys fill balloons prior to the start of a cultural event hosted in Balboa Park by the House of Turkey.
Guys fill balloons prior to the start of a cultural event hosted in Balboa Park by the House of Turkey.
Getting Turkish food ready, including tasty tantuni.
Getting Turkish food ready, including tasty tantuni.
Lots of smiles as hungry people start to line up.
Lots of smiles as hungry people start to line up.
Kids cross the lawn, almost ready to perform on stage.
Kids cross the lawn, almost ready to perform on stage.
Young performers in Turkish costume on stage during the House of Turkey's lawn program, celebrating International Children's Day.
Young performers in Turkish costume on stage during the House of Turkey’s lawn program, celebrating International Children’s Day.
A clown in the audience provided innocent laughs!
A clown in the audience provided innocent laughs!

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!