Spooky fun Boulevard BOO! Parade thrills kids.

Boy dressed as tin man enjoys Boulevard BOO! Parade in San Diego.
Boy dressed as tin man enjoys Boulevard BOO! Parade in San Diego.

I’ve heard about San Diego’s only Halloween parade for years. Today I checked it out!

The Boulevard BOO! Parade is now ten years old. It takes place every late October on El Cajon Boulevard near College Avenue. The neighborhood, just south of San Diego State University, appears to have really embraced this annual Halloween event!

Hundreds of families turned out to view the fun spectacle. The BOO! Parade is mostly for kids, and many young spectators had trick-or-treat bags and were in costume themselves!

Here are my best pics!

10th annual BOO! Parade took place on El Cajon Boulevard.
10th annual BOO! Parade took place on El Cajon Boulevard.
Two scary zombie kids were seen lurching down the street before the parade began.
Two scary zombie kids were seen lurching down the street before the parade began.
These pirates were being rascally and rambunctious in the parade staging area!
These pirates were being rascally and rambunctious in the parade staging area!
BOO! Parade kicks off a few blocks west of College Avenue in the late morning.
BOO! Parade kicks off a few blocks west of College Avenue in the late morning.

The tall ghostly blue creature is the character Boo!

Super tall Boo is blue, and he seems to blend in with the clouds.
Super tall Boo is blue, and he seems to blend in with the clouds.
Looks like all the regular monsters have shown up for this big Halloween parade!
Looks like all the regular monsters have shown up for this big Halloween parade!
There were a few not-so-scary clowns around, too!
There were a few not-so-scary clowns around, too!
Marine Corps marching band gets things rolling near start of parade.
Marine Corps marching band gets things rolling near start of parade.
One of many creative floats seen during the fun late October parade.
One of many creative floats seen during the fun late October parade.
Two different Ghostbusters cars were in the parade.
Two different Ghostbusters cars were in the parade.
Kids get goodies from a ghostbuster patrolling El Cajon Boulevard.
Kids get goodies from a ghostbuster patrolling El Cajon Boulevard.
Costumed parade participants from San Diego Center for the Blind.
Costumed parade participants from San Diego Center for the Blind.
Here come some smiling SDSU cheerleaders.
Here come some smiling SDSU cheerleaders.
The San Diego State University mascot Aztec Warrior gives a high five!
The San Diego State University mascot Aztec Warrior gives a high five!
Lots of cars in the parade were draped with creepy cobwebs.
Lots of cars in the parade were draped with creepy cobwebs.
Kids marching in the parade wore every sort of cool costume you can imagine!
Kids marching in the parade wore every sort of cool costume you can imagine!
Here comes a long line of classic cars with spooky decorations.
Here comes a long line of classic cars with spooky decorations.
A witch waves to a passing skeleton!
A witch waves to a passing skeleton!
The San Diego Police Department must be hiring guys with evil pumpkin heads!
The San Diego Police Department must be hiring guys with evil pumpkin heads!
One of two pirate ships I saw. This was most definitely very cool.
One of two pirate ships I saw. This was most definitely very cool.
Little zombies do a dance routine!
Little zombies do a dance routine!
Several schools were in the parade and everyone was having a blast.
Several schools were in the parade and everyone was having a blast.
Here come the Shriners in their Halloween-themed mini-cars!
Here come the Shriners in their Halloween-themed mini-cars!
And here come more clowns out of the woodwork.
And here come more clowns out of the woodwork.
The second pirate ship rolls along with some waving beauty queens.
The second pirate ship rolls along with some waving beauty queens.
A beauty queen is wearing a big, golden pharaoh headdress!
A beauty queen is wearing a big, golden pharaoh headdress!
I suppose these young ladies are the queens of Zombieland!
I suppose these young ladies are the queens of Zombieland!
And this beauty queen is dressed up as macaroni and cheese!
And this beauty queen is dressed up as macaroni and cheese!
Looks like the ROTC is recruiting young monsters.
Looks like the ROTC is recruiting young monsters.
Headless parader thrills girls and shocks poor old mom.
Headless parader thrills girls and shocks poor old mom.
A whole lot of fun was enjoyed by thousands today, young and old.
A whole lot of fun was enjoyed by thousands today, young and old.
Utility box on El Cajon Boulevard painted with scenes from BOO! Parade.
Utility box on El Cajon Boulevard painted with scenes from BOO! Parade.

Aircraft Carrier Memorial on San Diego Bay.

Man points out a recent fleet carrier name on the Aircraft Carrier Memorial.
Man points out a recent fleet carrier name on the Aircraft Carrier Memorial.

Take a stroll down the Greatest Generation Walk on San Diego’s Embarcadero and you’re likely to see people standing beside the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, just gazing at the long list of historic Navy ships. Many will run their hand along the black marble obelisk as they search for the ship on which they or a loved one served.

The listed names include every fleet carrier, training carrier, light carrier, escort carrier, and amphibious assault ship from American history. Well, almost. I’ve noticed the fleet carrier section has run out of space, and the last ship named is the Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). No room remains to engrave the more recent USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77).

Sculpture of a sailor who served aboard a flattop.
Sculpture of a sailor who served aboard a flattop.
Obelisk of Aircraft Carrier Memorial remembers past ships from history.
Obelisk of Aircraft Carrier Memorial remembers past ships from naval history.

The memorial contains the following words:

The advent of the aircraft carrier revolutionized modern naval warfare. This memorial was conceived by aircraft carrier veterans to honor this nation’s carriers and the personnel who proudly served aboard them. Powered by the human soul, these ships changed the course of history.

This site is known as the old navy “fleet landing”…where countless thousands of servicemen boarded boats that transported them to their ships.

The names of all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and their hull numbers are inscribed hereon…from the smallest to the largest. Every “flattop” is of equal distinction…none above the other. The personnel who manned, fought and in some cases perished aboard these ships were and are a part of the finest Navy and Marine Corps in the world.

Sculpture of a naval aviator who flew from a carrier.
Sculpture of a naval aviator who flew from a carrier.
The Aircraft Carrier Memorial can be found on San Diego's Greatest Generation Walk.
The Aircraft Carrier Memorial can be found on San Diego’s Greatest Generation Walk.

The Greatest Generation Walk is located on San Diego Bay, just south of the USS Midway Museum.

Kids’ NewsDay benefits Rady Children’s Hospital!

Selling special edition Union-Tribune newspapers during Kids' NewsDay!
Selling very special edition Union-Tribune newspapers during Kids’ NewsDay!

Smiling volunteers could be seen throughout San Diego this morning selling special edition newspapers! Today was the 25th anniversary of Kids’ NewsDay, a much-anticipated yearly event whose purpose is to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital.

Over the years, thousands of children and families have been helped by the money raised by generous people who purchase this inspiring edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Since the first Kids’ NewsDay in 1990, about 30,000 volunteers have sold over a million papers, raising nearly 3 million dollars! That’s amazing! The featured section of the newspaper is filled with stories of kids overcoming extremely difficult situations, many with rare or life-threatening diseases. The stories are filled with optimism, and the most inspiring stories are written by children themselves!

If you would like to make a donation to Rady Children’s Hospital, please click this link!

Kid's NewsDay helps raise funds for Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
Kid’s NewsDay helps raise funds for Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

Signs of Halloween in downtown San Diego.

Scarecrow and hay bales at pumpkin patch in San Diego's new waterfront park.
Scarecrow and hay bales at pumpkin patch in San Diego’s new waterfront park.

During my mid-afternoon walk around downtown San Diego today, I was watching for fun Halloween photo opportunities. It’s less than two weeks away!  I had a little bit of luck…

(The above pic was taken after all the pumpkins were snatched up, but lots of families were still about enjoying the pleasant day!)

Spiders on side of Little Italy building wrap a skeleton.
Spiders on side of Little Italy building wrap a skeleton.
Spooky shredded sails of haunted Star of India on Embarcadero.
Spooky shredded sails of haunted Star of India flutter in wind on the Embarcadero.
Gaslamp parties celebrate Halloween and Day of the Dead.
Gaslamp parties celebrate Halloween and Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
Alamo Flags at Seaport Village has a smelly witch foot!
Trick or treat?  Alamo Flags at Seaport Village has a smelly witch foot!
Just relaxing on a nice Autumn Sunday by the Seaport Village carousel.
Just relaxing on a nice cool Autumn Sunday by the Seaport Village carousel.
Kid checks out pumpkins and colorful display at Seaport Village.
Kid checks out pumpkins and colorful leafy display at Seaport Village.
Gaslamp banners advertise a monster bash block party.
Gaslamp banners advertise a monster bash block party.
Donut Bar window contains a scary skull-headed server!
Donut Bar window downtown contains a scary skull-headed server!

Mermaid, binoculars, and a rainbow-making kite.

Mermaid with a megaphone on the bay side of the narrow Canyon Path.
Mermaid with a megaphone on the bay side of the narrow Canyon Path.

A mermaid emerges near the edge of beautiful San Diego Bay. She summons people from the bustling city with her megaphone…

Man with binoculars peers into dark alley between convention center and Marriott.
Man with binoculars peers into dark alley between convention center and Marriott.

A man with binoculars peers between the San Diego Convention Center and the Marriott Marquis hotel. He heard the mermaid’s siren call, and is trying to catch a glimpse.  She seems to be waiting at the end of a long, mysterious passageway…

Unique entrance to hidden walkway that provides bay access.
Unique entrance to partially hidden walkway that provides easy bay access.

Will these people walking along succeed in finding the elusive mermaid?  Turn left!  Turn left!

Walking through narrow Canyon Path between buildings.
Walking through narrow Canyon Path between buildings.

The mermaid seems to be somewhere ahead. The narrow Canyon Path between buildings is shadowy and filled with dark trees and bushes. It’s a bit scary. Where are we going? Are we lost?

Prismatic kite in blue sky above the Canyon Path.
Prismatic kite in blue sky above the Canyon Path.

Look up! It’s a shining kite in the blue sky!

Colorful light like a rainbow cast by prism kite onto building side.
Colorful light like a rainbow is cast by prism kite onto building side.

As we approach the mermaid on the opposite side, a beautiful rainbow-like splash of color appears on the Canyon Path’s vertical side! This secret place seems to be filled with magic!

The mermaid, man with binoculars and prismatic kite are all part of public art called The Benefit of Mr. Kite. This fun artwork was created to draw attention to an easily overlooked 925-foot long  pedestrian accessway between the convention center and Marriott Marquis hotel, leading from Harbor Drive to the Marriott Marina on San Diego Bay. The artists responsible for our magical journey are Mags Harries and Lajos Héder!

UPDATE! Navy 200 year commemorative plaque.

Photo of Navy 200 year commemoration plaque courtesy the Port of San Diego.
Photo of Navy 200 year commemoration plaque courtesy the Port of San Diego.

I just received a comment from one of the creators of this Navy 200 year anniversary commemorative plaque, providing information about its origin:

My name is William Abell and I was an ML3 aboard the USS Ajax AR6 and I helped create this plaque in the ship’s foundry in 1975. I have a certificate from Admiral J L Holloway III commemorating the plaque’s creation and my part in its creation. The date on the certificate is Oct 13, 1975. The plaque was to be a gift to the City of San Diego. I am now a retired police commander living in Monroe WA.

Please visit this blog post where there is a detailed description of this once-mysterious plaque!

Little Italy’s tasty art, a Recipe For Friendship.

Four sculptures depict tables of tasty food in Amici Park.
Four sculptures depict tables of tasty food in Amici Park.

People love to congregate in Little Italy’s Amici Park, just north of downtown San Diego. There’s a big grassy area for dogs, a couple bocce ball courts, and some tables and chairs where neighbors can just sit and relax. Or eat.

Honestly, who wouldn’t be hungry in this park? There’s food all over the place! Metal sculptures in the shape of food, to be exact!

The red and white checkered tablecloths you see are actually glass mosaics. The recipes beside the plates are designed so that inquisitive gourmets can take a rubbing, and bring the recipe home. The various round plaques are sprinkled about the park, set in concrete where people might walk. The entire installation is called “A Recipe For Friendship” and was created by Nina Karavasiles in 2001. The public art was commissioned by the City of San Diego Commission For Arts and Culture.

Now, what’s for dinner?

Metal sculpture of blackened fish taco plate in Little Italy's unique Amici Park.
Metal sculpture of blackened fish taco plate in Little Italy’s unique Amici Park.
Blackened fish taco recipe from Debra Scott.
Blackened fish taco recipe from Debra Scott.
Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing. --Walt Kelly
Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing. –Walt Kelly
You'd need some powerful teeth to eat these stuffed artichokes!
You’d need some powerful teeth to eat these stuffed artichokes!
Stuffed artichokes recipe from Rose Cresci.
Stuffed artichokes recipe from Rose Cresci.
Round plaque at Amici Park shows many popular spices.
Round plaque at Amici Park shows many popular spices.
Marinara sauce on plate of tasty pasta makes fun public art!
Marinara sauce on plate of tasty pasta makes fun public art!
Marinara sauce recipe from restaurateurs Lisa and Joe Busalacchi.
Marinara sauce recipe from local restaurateurs Lisa and Joe Busalacchi.
Only the pure in heart can make a good soup. --Beethoven.
Only the pure in heart can make a good soup. –Beethoven.
A plate of fava beans served up on a checkered tablecloth makes for cool artwork.
A plate of fava beans served up on a checkered tablecloth makes for cool artwork.
Fava bean spread recipe from Nina Karavasiles.
Fava bean spread recipe from Nina Karavasiles.
A Recipe For Friendship celebrates food, created by Nina Karvasiles in 2001.
A Recipe For Friendship celebrates food, created by Nina Karvasiles in 2001.
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