–All Proceeds Go To Employee’s Family –

Barra Barra Saloon, located in Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town, is hosting a celebration of life fundraiser to benefit the family of Jim Larson, the former Caltrans spokesperson who was killed in a head-on crash in Wyoming in late June.

The fundraiser will be Thursday, Aug. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. and all proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Larson family. The cost is a recommended donation of $12 and there will be a raffle with prizes donated from various Old Town businesses.

Larson began working for Caltrans in 1957 and retired in 2002, taking four years off to serve in the Army. During his time at CalTrans, Larson was known for bringing containers of seeds for the maintenance workers to beautify the highways. He also spearheaded the “Avoid the Cone Zone” campaign to promote the safety of workers along the highways.

Barra Barra Saloon is located in Fiesta de Reyes at Calhoun and Mason streets, one-block from the Old Town Trolley Station. For more information call (619) 297-3100 or visit

The Jim Larson fundraiser takes place on August 5 from 4 – 7 p.m. at Barra Barra Saloon at Calhoun and Mason streets, one-block from the Old Town Trolley Station.

–Two-day celebration raises $8,000 for Meals-On-Wheels–

After a successful grand opening, Old Town’s Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant is now open for business.

“We are very pleased with the success of the two grand opening events: the grand opening gala and all-day festival,” explained Cosmopolitan proprietor Joseph Melluso. “We want everyone in San Diego to come visit us and celebrate The Cosmopolitan’s return to glory.”

The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant was celebrated with a grand opening gala that benefited Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego. The gala was attended by 350 guests, and raised more than $8,000 for the charity that serves more than 2,300 seniors in the San Diego area.

Meals-On-Wheels CEO Debbie Case

The gala featured a sampling of Executive Chef Amy DiBiase’s American regional cuisine dedicated to the melding of modern tastes with local ingredients and foods of the 1870s.

The public was also invited a free event that included stagecoach rides, opening ceremony with a multi-denominational blessings, military color guard and three-gun salute, and a free open-air circus in the state park that was attended by over 1,200 people.

The Cosmopolitan was originally constructed as the home of San Diego pioneer and Juan Bandini between 1827 and 1829. The Cosmo is one of the oldest buildings in San Diego and in California with a history spanning over 175 years.

The Cosmopolitan is owned and operated by Joseph Melluso. Melluso has created 15 restaurants throughout the United States, nine of which are in San Diego County including two in The Gaslamp — The Tin Fish and Downtown Fish Joint — with another Tin Fish at the end of the Imperial Beach Pier.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant is located on the corner of Calhoun and Mason streets in Old Town and there is ample free parking along Juan Street. After 5 pm, visitors can also park for free in the CalTrans headquarters at Juan and Taylor streets.

For more information about Old Town’s Cosmopolitan Hotel, visit

–The Father of American Literature Comes to Old Town —

Celebrate your family’s love of literature at TwainFest, an all-day festival celebrating Mark Twain and other popular writers of the 19th century.  Presented by Write Out Loud, Fiesta de Reyes and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, TwainFest will be held August 21, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The free event will be held at multiple venues within the state park.

The festival marks the 100th year of Mark Twain’s passing and will celebrate the American author as well as some of his peers. Excerpts from famous works will be read aloud by costumed San Diego actors at a variety of park venues throughout the day.

“This event will include readings by professional actors, music, activities for kids, games, fun and food for the entire family, all tied to the literature of the beloved author, Mark Twain,” said Write Out Loud executive director, Walter Ritter.

Mark Twain for Kids will be presented in Seeley Stables, Garden of Literary Delights will be served, along with complimentary tea, in the Casa de Estudillo, Prof. Pudd’nhead & Co. puppets will grace the outdoor Fiesta de Reyes stage, abridged Shakespeare will be presented by Cygnet Theatre’s Storytelling on the Green troupe and a 19th century-style Séance will bring departed writers ‘to the table’ so to speak.

In addition to Twain, works by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allan Poe and others will be read aloud. 

Literary games including “Fish for Words, Chortle This and Telegraph Crunch” will delight the entire family, as well as sack races, marbles, ring toss and other games of the period for the kids.  A spelling bee will run throughout the day as well as a community-wide Never Ending Story to which anyone who wishes may contribute.

TwainFest will be held concurrently with Stagecoach Days, a fun and educational celebration of life and traditions of the 1800s that is held in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park every Saturday in July and August.

Twainfest is produced by Write Out Loud, Fiesta de Reyes, and the state park, with additional sponsorship by Geppetto’s Toys, Cygnet Theater, Lamb’s Players Theatre, Old Town Gift Company, Rolling Readers, Playwrights Project, and Wild Threads Embroidery.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is at San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street in San Diego and is conveniently located next to the Old Town Transit Center, with Coaster, Trolley, and MTS bus service.  For more information about Twain Fest visit or call 619-297-8953.

Don’t miss this once in a lifetime chance to attend the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant grand opening July 9th. We are pulling out all the stops for this long awaited grand opening and we hope that you are able to attend. This event is benefiting a great cause of Meals-On-Wheels Greater San Diego so get your tickets and show your support!

Want to be the first person to stay in the Cosmopolitan Hotel rooms? Visit the live auction here: Auction Room prices include two tickets to the gala!

— Award-Winning Australian Youth Band Performing at Fiesta de Reyes–

The Australian Youth Band, a world-touring youth marching band from Melbourne, is coming to celebrate America’s birthday in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, Saturday, July 3.

The Australian Youth Band is a premiere marching and concert band that covers a wide variety of styles from marching hymns, to contemporary vocal numbers and popular show tunes. They have toured the world, including performances at the International Youth Festival in Beijing, the World Marching Band Festival in Kanagawa, Japan, and the World Expo 88 in Brisbane.

The Australian Youth Band, a world-touring youth marching band from Melbourne, will help kick off the Fourth of July weekend by performing favorites such as America the Beautiful and Stars and Stripes Forever on July 3.

Starting at 5:15 p.m., the band will march through the state park and enter the Fiesta de Reyes courtyard for a 45-minute performance.

On the following day, July 4, the celebration will feature a variety of entertainment, including re-enactment cannon firings, pie-eating contests, old-fashioned bucket races and popcorn and lemonade at truly Old Town prices, just fifty cents each.

The Fourth of July parade starts at 11:30 a.m., with family activities through 4:00 p.m.  With free admission, this is an inexpensive family friendly event, due in part to the Boosters of Old Town, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs in the park. All of the Fourth of July activates will be located in the central plaza of the state park.

For more information about Old Town San Diego State Historic Park call the visitor center at 619-220-5422 or visit .