Poker Party Recap!!

March 30, 2010

It is sure to go down in history as the best Old Town party ever.  Everyone had a blast!  Congratulations to Jillian Jeter, who won the best female non-rented costume, and Julia Simms, who won best femaile rented costume.

Sorry but the notes were lost on the best male costumes.  A great deal of fun was had voting on the best poker face and we ended with a three-way tie between Ed Garcia, Mango of Mango and Dango, Annie Oakley and a mysterious party guest.

Thanks go to Jessica John of Cygnet Theatre who sold the most tickets and had her entire family of 14 in attendance.  And be sure to send your congratulations to Chuck Catania of Captain Fitch’s who won the prize for the most chips.  (It was well over $1,000 and he started with $100.  Better take this guy to Vegas next time.)

The event raised approximately $2,000, which is being used to offset the entertainment expenses for Old Town Spring Nights.  Thank you to all who participated in one way or another.

We have got to plan another one soon!

Thanks to Jessica John for the photos!

— “Salchata” Mondays to Become a Staple in Old Town —

Starting Monday, April 5, Old Town’s Barra Barra Saloon is offering free Bachata-style salsa lessons every Monday night.

Dubbed “Salchata Mondays,” the lesson will combine the Bachata style of dance with traditional salsa techniques. The class is taught by Anthony Umina and Marissa Johnson of the Bachatamante Dance Company in Clairemont Mesa.

“We are excited to be a part of the salsa movement that is very popular right now,” said Chuck Ross, owner and operator of Barra Barra. “This dance lesson will provide a fun, free event that anyone can attend, no matter your skill level.”

The lesson is from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. with open dancing afterward all night. The class is for all ages, no experience or partner is necessary and Barra Barra will have food and drink specials with the kitchen open all night.

Barra Barra provides outdoor and indoor seating with décor, ambiance and costumed servers reflecting the historic era reflected in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The restaurant is located just outside of the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard at Wallace and Calhoun streets, a one-block stroll from the Old Town Trolley Station. In addition to Barra Barra Saloon, Fiesta de Reyes boasts the Casa de Reyes restaurant, 16 specialty stores and the soon-to-open Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.  For more information call (619) 297-3100 or visit

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Monterey County Herold on March 21:

“The daily trolley shuttle service between Old Town and other San Diego highlights provides a stream of visitors throughout the day. At 5 p.m., just as Old Town’s museum doors close and you expect tourists to retreat from the sleeping park, the energy shifts surprisingly into “fiesta” gear. A new flock fills the restaurants and cantinas under the warm glow of lights and outdoor fireplaces. “Spring Nights” on the Plaza feature performing arts, including theater, folk dancing, circus acts and Latin music concerts.”

Read more here:

Spring Nights ends this weekend. Last chance to see Mango and Dango on Sunday night. Bring the entire family for a day in Old Town and then relax in the park, watch the sunset and our bonfire while being thoroughly entertained.

Wondering what to wear to the Poker Party? The dress code requires you to be in 1870s or earlier wear.

Here are some photos of people in the 1870s and earlier:

Can’t wait to see all the great outfits on Sunday!

— Public Asked to Help in Restoring of Historic Hotel —

Park staff working on the restoration of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park are asking for the assistance of the public in restoring the historic structure.

The State of California is looking for any photographs or images of the structure, also known in the mid-twentieth century as the Casa de Bandini Restaurant.  The structure also went by the name of the Miramar Hotel during the thirties and early forties under Cave Couts, Jr., and the Casa de Bandini Motel of the Cardwells from the late forties, through the fifties and into the early sixties.

“The photos are a very important part in making the restoration as historically accurate as possible,” said Sean K. T. Shiraishi, historian for the State of California.  “We recognize the significance and popularity of the location, from tourists to locals.  Many memories were cherished over the years, and we hope to capture those images”

The Cosmo enjoys a prime location in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, surrounded by restaurants and shops. Recognized as one of the most historically significant buildings in California, The Cosmo will include an indoor and outdoor restaurant, boutique hotel with 10 rooms, along with meeting rooms for special occasions.

Requested are both interior and exterior views, but images of the interior would be especially welcome.

If there are any photos that are willing to be shared, they will be scanned and returned to you with an agreement for the terms of our intended use.  Images may also be brought by appointment at the San Diego Coast District Office, located at 4477 Pacific Highway, San Diego.

Submittals are desired before April 15, 2010.

High resolution external photos of the historic La Casa de Bandini / Cosmopolitan Hotel available upon request.

For more information, contact Sean K.T. Shiraishi via email at or call (619) 688-3398

Spirit of Mexico Teaser!

March 16, 2010

The plans for the Spirit of Mexico Festival are in the works. Check out postcard below:

Save the date!

Old Town Poker Party!

March 10, 2010

This is a flier for the Old Town Poker Party Fundraiser! Call Mary @ 619-297-3100 x22 to get your tickets today.

Here are some photos of what the Cosmopolitan Hotel used to look like in the 1870s:

Here are some renderings of what the Cosmo is going to look like in 2010: