San Diego Essential Guide

Festivals

San Diegans enjoy free summer concerts

Free twilight concerts have become summertime traditions in neighborhoods throughout San Diego County. They’re an opportunity for visitors, locals and their families to socialize, picnic, enjoy music together – and maybe even dance as the sun sets on another perfect San Diego summer day. Here’s a sampling of what will be staged during the summer of 2014: •    The Point Loma Summer Concert Series opens July 11 with the Mighty Untouchables and continues on consecutive Fridays through Aug. 8 when Detroit Underground takes the stage. Shows run 5:30-8:30 PM.  Pack a picnic or buy food at the venue. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and Frisbees to Point Loma Park, 1049 Catalina Blvd. •    Pacific Beach Concerts on the Green are set for Sundays July 20 through Aug. 10.  Shows run from 4-6:30 PM at Kate Sessions Park (Lamont Street, just north of Beryl).  Bring your own food and drink. •    Mission Hills’ Concerts in the Park series opens June 20 at Pioneer Park and continues on consecutive Fridays through Aug. 22. Pioneer Park is at 1425 Washington Place. •    Balboa Park’s Twilight in the Park concert series kicks off at 6:15 PM June 17 and continues on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 28 at the park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The hour-long shows feature everything from classical music to R&B. •    Enjoy organ music? The International Summer Organ Festival features top organists from around the world. Showtime is 7:30 – 9:30 PM on Mondays, June 23 through Aug. 25, at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. •   The Bird Park Concert Series in North Park opens June 14 with the Bill Magee Blues Band. More concerts are scheduled June 28 (folk), July 12 (indie rock), July 26 (country) and Aug. 9 (Zydeco). All shows run 5:30-7:30 PM. Bird Park is at 28th and Thorn streets. •    Coronado’s Concerts in the Park series is set for 6 PM on Sundays, through Sept. 7, at Spreckels Park, 7th and Orange. Families (but no dogs) are welcome to picnic during the 90-minute shows. •    Del Mar’s Summer Twilight Concerts  are set for Powerhouse Park, overlooking the Pacific, at 1600 Coast Blvd.  The series begins June 17 with Rockola, followed by Back to the Garden on July 1, the Heroes on July 22, Haute Chile on Aug. 12 and   Sully and the Blue Eyed Soul Band on Sept. 7. Show time is 7 PM, with pre-show entertainment beginning at 6 PM. •    Carlsbad’s TGIF Jazz in the Park is staged at four community parks. The 29th season opens at Stagecoach Park (3420 Camino de los Coches), with concerts on June 27, July 4. The party moves to Alga Norte Community Park (6565 Alicante Road) for concerts on July 11 and 18. Then it’s on to Poinsettia Park (6600 Hidden Valley Road) for concerts on July 25, Aug. 1 and 8.  The season closes at Calavera Hills Park (2997 Glasgow Drive) with concerts on Aug. 15 and 22.  Showtime is 6-8 PM.  Wear your dancing shoes. •    El Cajon’s Dinner & a Concert series is set for 6-8 PM Fridays through Sept. 26 on the Prescott Promenade near East Main Street and Rea Avenue in downtown El Cajon. The family oriented venue...

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014

Comments Off on San Diegans enjoy free summer concerts

Festivals, What's New?

Read More

Deals for frugal fair-goers

Adult admission to the San Diego County Fair costs $14 – but deals abound. For super fans, the “Best Pass Ever” can’t be beat. It includes daily admission – from June 7 to July 6, every single day of the fair – for just $24. You’ll need a school or government-issued photo ID to use the pass. Tuesdays June 24 and July 1 are the magic day for kids 6-12 years old. They get in free. (Kids 5 and younger get in free everyday.) Youngsters 12 and younger can get in free any day through July 5, if they read 10 books and have it verified by their teacher or librarian. The certificate you’ll need to get signed can be downloaded in English or Spanish. Get Fair admission for just $4 on June 7 or 11, with a ticket available with any $10 purchase at Albertsons/SavOn stores. (Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the fair.) County auto dealers are in on the action this year.  Visit a Toyota dealership to get a coupon valid for two adult admissions for the price of one. Visit a Ford dealership to get a 4-tickets-for-$32 coupon. Once you’re inside, there are tons of free things to enjoy – including concerts by big name artists. Get free unreserved seats at performances by top artists including the Smokey Robinson, REO Speedwagon, Huey Lewis and the News, Taylor Hicks and Grand Funk Railroad. Love the rides?  On  “Pepsi Pay-One-Price” days, spend $35 for a wristband that allows unlimited access to Fun Zone and Kid Zone rides from noon until 8 PM.  The deal is valid June 7-8, 11-15, 18-19 and 25-26.  On valid Wednesdays or Thursdays wristbands are for sale at the fair; on other valid days, they must be purchased online. (You’ll buy and print out your Pay-One-Price voucher online; there’s an additional $2.50 fee for online purchases.) Food? On Tuesdays, June 24 and July 1, until 5 p.m., more than 100 food vendors offer smaller portions for $2. Or bring your own picnic; there are six designated picnic areas. (No alcohol, glass containers or metal utensils.) Avoid the fair’s $10 parking fee by opting for free parking at Horsepark, about 2 miles east of the fairgrounds, at 14550 El Camino Real; a free shuttle will get you to the front gate.  On weekends and July 4 there’s additional free parking (with shuttle service) at Torrey Pines High and Mira Costa College’s San Elijo campus. Taking public transportation to the fair is a super deal. For $15, travel roundtrip on the Coaster and get free fair admission. The “Fair Tripper” is valid for any age, but those 62 and older save more by buying fair admission and Coaster tickets separately. Kids 5 and younger ride the Coaster free and get free fair...

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014

Comments Off on Deals for frugal fair-goers

Festivals, North County

Read More

San Diegans celebrate December Nights in Balboa Park

Balboa Park’s December Nights – the city’s annual two-day holiday gift to the community – promises to be bigger and better than ever this year. It’s the city’s largest free festival, expected to draw at least 300,000 in this its 35th year. The two-day celebration of entertainment, food and fun, is set for Friday, Dec. 6, from 3 until 11 pm, and Saturday, Dec. 7, sfrom noon-11pm. December Nights is as close as San Diego gets to becoming a winter wonderland. Balboa Park is decked in twinkling lights and silvery garlands. Fanciful Christmas trees abound – and the aromas of multi-cultural holiday treats waft through the air. In the spirit of the season, participating park museums open their doors to the public, free of charge, from 5 until 9 PM both evenings. Many present special holiday programs.  (Kids will be awed by the elaborate gingerbread constructions at the Mingei Museum – and can join in holiday-inspired craft projects at the Air & Space Museum. All ages will be enthralled by the amazing handbell ringers who perform at the San Diego History Center – and don’t miss the San Diego Floral Association’s exhibit at the House of Hospitality of 30 beautifully decorated holiday trees.) Festivities are family friendly, multi-cultural and staged throughout the park.  The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker” on the Casa del Prado Stage. Steps away, on the California Quadrangle near the Museum of Man, revelers can see the Santa Lucia Procession and children’s choir performances. The San Diego Civic Dance Company will present Rockettes-style routines – while a puppet-version of “The Christmas Carol” will be presented at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. African drumming and dance performances – and Reggae music performances are planned at the WorldBeat Center. Dozens of singers, dancers and musicians will take to the stage at the Organ Pavilion. Youngsters will have the opportunity to visit with roving Santas – and they can pose for a photo in the Old Globe courtyard with Dr. Seuss’s Grinch who stole Christmas.  Kids of all ages can join with Junior Theatre students singing holiday songs. A series of children’s holiday movies will run nonstop both evenings in the theater at the Hall of Champions. There also are plenty of carnival rides to keep the younger set entertained. Hungry?  December Nights is known for its mouth-watering range of food and drink offerings. The International Cottages of the House of Pacific Relations offer traditional holiday foods from a smorgasbord of nations: Think empanadas, eggrolls, shepherd’s pie, pasties, pancit, samosas, plantains, pierogi, bourekas, baklava, paella, even blueberry soup.   Many museums offer tasty treats: Find roasted chestnuts at the San Diego Art Institute, yakisoba at the Japanese Friendship Garden, hot toddies at the Hall of Champions. In addition, numerous food vendors sell an array of yummy holiday delights – from melted Swiss raclette to fresh-baked gingerbread cookies.  The 21+ set can sip a locally crafted brew at one of several beer gardens. December Nights are prime time for holiday shopping.  Find great gifts at museum stores, from Spanish Village artisans and at a wide range of arts and crafts booths.  For $300 or less, buy a piece of original...

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013

Comments Off on San Diegans celebrate December Nights in Balboa Park

Attractions, Eats, Festivals, Museums

Read More

It’s festival time at Cabrillo National Monument

The annual Cabrillo Festival, Sept. 28-29, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year – and next month the monument itself celebrates its 100th birthday. A centennial weekend celebration is set for Oct. 12-14.   The Cabrillo Festival commemorates the day in 1542 when Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on the shore of what is now known as San Diego Bay. (He had christened it San Miguel.) Sailing under the flag of Spain, he was the first European to land on the west coast of what is now the United States. A highlight of the festival is the re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing. “Cabrillo,” his soldiers and a priest sail into the bay on the San Salvador (The Californian) and once again claim the land for Spain.   Cabrillo Festival activities begin with a commemorative ceremony at 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the monument. That evening there’s a dinner/dance at the SES Portuguese Hall. (Tickets cost $50; phone 619-426-0769.)   The big day is Sunday Sept. 29 at Ballast Point– one of the few times the Navy’s nuclear sub base at the end of Rosecrans on Point Loma is open to the public. (Admission is free, but you’ll need valid photo ID to get in.) Festivities, which run from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., will include music, dancing and activities for children. There will be demonstrations of Kumeyaay basket making and knot tying. Visitors can view a 16th Century Spanish soldiers living history encampment.  Vendors will native-American foods as well as foods from Mexico, Spain and Portugal.  (Cabrillo’s landing is set for around 1 p.m.)   Next month’s Cabrillo Centennial celebration will include living history tours to the top of the lighthouse (from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12), bayside trail hikes, food vendors and entertainment. On Sunday, Oct. 13, an exhibitor fair is planned at the Visitors Center Complex – and actors portraying World War II soldiers will offer tours of newly restored military bunkers. The fun concludes on Monday, Oct. 14, with an 11 a.m. centennial commemoration ceremony.   Admission to Cabrillo National Monument costs $5 per car. Get more info on the Cabrillo Festival at www.CabrilloFestival.org. Learn more about centennial celebration at...

Posted by on Sep 22, 2013

Comments Off on It’s festival time at Cabrillo National Monument

Attractions, Festivals, Museums, Point Loma, What's New?

Read More

Get down at San Diego Blues Festival

One of San Diego’s premier music events is just around the corner. The 2013 San Diego Blues Festival is set for Sept. 7 at Embarcadero Marina Park North. This year’s headliners include three members of the Blues Hall of Fame and a Grammy Award winner. Hall of Famers include harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite and Chicago musicians Billy Boy Arnold and Jody Williams, who helped Bo Diddley and others transform blues into rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s.They will be joined by Grammy winner Dave Alvin, who has assembled a special blues band just for this year’s festival. Musselwhite is one of the best known blues harmonica players today and has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards.He recently released an album with guitarist Ben Harper. Others set to take the stage include Billy Watson and his Submarine Trio, The Fremonts, Nikki Hill, Eden Brent, The Tighten Ups, the Bill Magee Blues Band and the indefatigable Lucky Peterson, whose work as a musician, arranger and composer has been featured on nearly 600 albums. The 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. festival features continuous music on two stages – and it’s one of the best music values anywhere: General admission costs just $15, plus two cans of food. The fest benefits the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank with all proceeds going to the Food Bank. (In its first two years, the festival raised more than $100,000 and collected nearly eight tons of food for the food bank.) VIP tickets cost $100 and include lunch and admission to exclusive, shaded viewing areas by each stage. A $500 Star Benefactor pass includes reserved seating, lunch, drinks, free parking, a Blues Fest t-shirt, a signed festival poster and a framed photograph with one of the musicians. Children are welcome at the event; those 12 and younger are admitted free with a parent. Bring your own low-back beach chair, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and a windbreaker for late afternoon and early evening. Each festival-goer is allowed one factory sealed bottle of water. No other drinks, food or coolers are allowed. There are numerous public parking lots near the venue, but your best bet is to take public transportation.The San Diego Trolley stops two blocks from festival grounds. Learn more and buy tickets online at...

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013

Comments Off on Get down at San Diego Blues Festival

Festivals, What's New?

Read More

ArtWalk draws art lovers of all ages to Little Italy

Enjoy art? Next weekend, April 27-28, Little Italy is the place you’ll want to be. White tents and an array of booths are taking over 17 blocks of Little Italy for the 29th annual Mission Federal ArtWalk. More than 350 artists will exhibit and sell their work – and tens of thousands of art lovers will be buying. Admission is free – but festival goers will spend about $1 million during the event. Visitors will find a wide range of visual arts – from pottery to jewelry, sculpture to basketry, art glass to digital media, photography to oil paintings. And we’re not talking schlock. A selection committee reviews artists’ works before participation is permitted. The two-day event has become the city’s largest art festival – with live music and dance performances on six stages, a wide selection of food vendors offer everything from wood-fired pizzas to chocolate-covered strawberries – while Little Italy restaurants do voracious business. There’s also lots of artsy hands-on fun for children. Youngsters will even have the opportunity to create their own art to take home. About 100,000 are expected to visit ArtWalk. Avoid the parking frenzy by taking the MTS Trolley. Get off at the “County Center/Little Italy” stop, between Cedar and Beech streets. Walk east to the festival – which stretches along India, Kettner and Columbia streets between Beech and Grape. Festivities run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Learn more at...

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013

Comments Off on ArtWalk draws art lovers of all ages to Little Italy

Festivals, Little Italy, What's New?

Read More