Preparing for the holidays at Balboa Park!

Fun chalk art on a board outside Prado Perk. A hungry Pilgrim chases a Thanksgiving turkey that has been accelerated with coffee!
Fun chalk art on a board outside Prado Perk. A hungry Pilgrim chases a Thanksgiving turkey that has been accelerated with coffee!

Three days until Thanksgiving!

During my walk yesterday through Balboa Park, I saw signs everywhere of the coming holiday season. It seems everyone in the park is getting ready!

I even saw Santa Claus! Perhaps he dropped on by to see whether people were being naughty or nice!

These small snowmen at the Homemade Craft Sale in the Casa del Prado each contain a chocolate kiss.
These small snowmen at the Homemade Craft Sale in the Casa del Prado each contain a chocolate kiss.
The Old Globe's cheerful Christmas Tree is set up in Copley Plaza. The Grinch does not approve.
The Old Globe’s cheerful Christmas Tree is set up in Copley Plaza. The Grinch does not approve.
Good old Santa and his reindeer are back in Balboa Park, taking off between the Plaza de Panama and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Good old Santa and his reindeer are back in Balboa Park, taking off between the Plaza de Panama and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Almost ready for the holidays at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The 4th Annual Children's Coalition Christmas on the Prado will take place this coming Saturday. December Nights this year will be on December 1 and 2.
Almost ready for the holidays at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The 4th Annual Children’s Coalition Christmas on the Prado will take place this coming Saturday. December Nights this year will be on December 1 and 2.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, people gather inside the House of Sweden at the International Cottages to sing Christmas carols in Swedish.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, people gather inside the House of Sweden at the International Cottages to sing Christmas carols in Swedish.
Banners outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center wish everyone Happy Holidays and Peace.
Banners outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center wish everyone Happy Holidays and Peace.
The Nutcracker will be presented in December by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.
The Nutcracker will be presented in December by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.
Christmas cards for sale at the weekend's Homemade Craft Sale.
Christmas cards for sale at the weekend’s Homemade Craft Sale.
These festive Christmas tree ornaments are made of colorful pipe cleaners!
These festive Christmas tree ornaments are made of colorful pipe cleaners!
Santa might have swung by to pick up a new hat!
Santa might have swung by to pick up a new hat!

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!

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The sun descends, and sweet music begins.

Late sunlight and a rising moon at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.
Late sunlight and a rising moon at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

Tonight I enjoyed sweet music–wonderful organ music that streamed from the fingertips of world renowned organist Jelani Eddington.

The 2017 International Summer Organ Festival is in its second week. At the Speckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, Monday evenings throughout the summer promise to be full of magic. As the sun descends, the music begins.

Follow me into this time machine, and we’ll enter the park…

Evening walkers head into the park.
Evening walkers head into the park.
Shadows stretch and hues turn golden.
Shadows stretch and hues turn golden.
A bit of heavenly light still reaches into the Alcazar Garden.
A bit of heavenly light still reaches into the Alcazar Garden.
Victory as the sun descends.
Victory as the sun descends.
Many are entering the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Many are entering the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Anticipating beautiful organ music.
Anticipating beautiful organ music.
Several four-legged music lovers arrive.
Several four-legged music lovers arrive.
People dine and sit in lawn chairs. The weather is pleasant.
People dine and sit in lawn chairs. The weather is pleasant.
An ornamental edge still touched by sunlight.
An ornamental edge on high, still touched by sunlight.
Treats for the concert-goers.
Treats for the concert-goers.
Someone becomes a member of the Spreckels Organ Society.
Someone becomes a member of the Spreckels Organ Society.
The lights come on.
The lights come on.
The Spreckels Organ Pavilion will soon be a fairyland of lights.
The Spreckels Organ Pavilion will soon be a fairyland of lights.
Sun and golden pipes.
Sun and golden pipes.
Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society. welcomes the audience. He describes the 2017 International Summer Organ Festival and introduces tonight's organist.
Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes the audience. He describes the 2017 International Summer Organ Festival and introduces tonight’s organist.
Jelani Eddington is a splendid theatre organist who has performed in Balboa Park several times. He is world renowned.
Jelani Eddington is a splendid theatre organist who has performed in Balboa Park several times. He is world renowned.
Jelani Eddington takes the stage.
Jelani Eddington takes the stage.
A fantastic concert begins.
A fantastic concert begins.

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!

Painting a steampunk musician and his street organ!

Friendly gentleman plays his 20 pipe street organ named Misty in Balboa Park.
Friendly gentleman plays his 20 pipe street organ named Misty in Balboa Park.

Another wonderful day in Balboa Park. I took lots of photos.

As I walked past the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I paused for a bit to talk to the creator of a small 20 pipe street organ named Misty. The gentleman, dressed in steampunk gear, was pleased to demonstrate his musical instrument. He made it from a kit. Now he’s inventing another organ of his own design. Using air compressed by a bellows, the music is generated from a perforated paper roll that is turned by hand.

An organ grinder's monkey in a glittery, patriotic hat! I took this photo on a later visit to Balboa Park.
An organ grinder’s monkey in a glittery, patriotic hat! (I took this photo on a later visit to Balboa Park.)

Nearby, a talented artist was painting the musician’s portrait, daubing her canvas with bright color. I felt as if I were walking through a childhood dream, filled with surprising, fanciful sights and sounds.

New wonders await around every corner in Balboa Park!

An artist paints the pipe organ and its friendly creator.
An artist paints the pipe organ and its friendly creator.

UPDATE!

Jim Coffee is the musician–he left a comment! And he actually built the organ from scratch! My misunderstanding!

Very cool!

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!

Faces sing, play pipes at Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Two young faces sing together on Balboa Park's outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The ornamentation is composed of plaster of Paris mixed with coir fiber.
Two youth sing together.  Decoration on Balboa Park’s outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The faces are composed of plaster of Paris mixed with coir fiber.

Like many of the buildings created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is decorated lavishly with unique plaster ornamentation. The impressive structure with its sweeping, semi-circular colonnade, designed by Harrison Albright in the Italian-Renaissance style, contains many sculptural figures and motifs, including human faces.

The other day I took a close look at the organ pavilion building and its colonnade. I noticed a number of different faces singing or playing pipes. Here they are!

The organ isn't playing and the benches are empty, but many still wander into the historic pavilion to marvel at its unique beauty.
The organ isn’t playing and the benches are empty, but many still wander into the historic pavilion to marvel at its unique beauty.
An exotic face made of plaster for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park appears to be singing.
An exotic face made of plaster for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park appears to be singing.
A youthful musician plays the pipes. Many figures made of plaster decorate the pavilion which is home to the majestic Spreckels pipe organ in Balboa Park.
A youthful musician plays the pipes. Many beautiful figures made of plaster decorate the pavilion which is home to the majestic Spreckels pipe organ in Balboa Park.
A cherub sings inside the pavilion's colonnade.
A cherub sings inside the pavilion’s colonnade.
Perhaps this is Pan playing the pipes--or just an ordinary person who loves making music.
Perhaps this is the Greek god Pan playing his pipes–or just an ordinary person who loves making music.

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!

Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin in Balboa Park!

The Children's Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin sings at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on a Sunday afternoon.
The Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin sings at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on a Sunday afternoon.

The award-winning Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin performed this afternoon in Balboa Park at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They took the stage after a performance by the San Diego Children’s Choir, and then, at the program’s conclusion, the two youthful choirs joined together as one.

Accompanied by Martin Green playing the Spreckels Organ, the Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin, which is on a tour of the West Coast, impressed the large audience with their excellent voices. The music included Halleluja (from Messiah) and a mixture of folk and traditional pieces.

At Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, fantastic music can be heard every weekend. Merely take a seat at 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon!

Someone arriving for the concert is carrying colorful flowers.
Someone arriving for the concert is carrying colorful flowers.
A large crowd gathered on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion's benches to hear the famed German children's choir.
A large crowd gathered on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion’s benches to hear the famed German children’s choir.
All ears at attention.
All ears at attention.
The Children's Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin performs on stage in front of the large Spreckels Organ pipes.
The Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin performs on stage in front of the large Spreckels Organ pipes.
Piano accompanied the organ for a few songs. Guest organist Martin Green played this Sunday, while the Spreckels Organ Society searches for a new Civic Organist.
Piano accompanied the organ for a few songs. Guest organist Martin Green played this Sunday, while the Spreckels Organ Society searches for a new San Diego Civic Organist.
Near the conclusion of the program, the San Diego Children's Choir gets ready to head up onto the stage.
Near the conclusion of the program, the San Diego Children’s Choir gets ready to head up onto the stage.
Dozens of young voices join together to create beautiful music!
Dozens of young voices join together to create beautiful music!

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!