–A Modern Twist on a Historical Event—

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting a Blessing of the Animals event on Sunday, Jan.16, from noon to 3:00 p.m. Led by Monsignor Mark Campbell from the historic Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Old Town, this event will have a decidedly wild personality.

The Chula Vista Nature Center will be bringing native animals to the event and the Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital will educate the public about rescuing, rehabilitating and supporting wild animals. On hand will be many native animals that are rarely viewed up close that have been rescued but are now unable to return to the wild. Also participating in the event is the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego, Shelly’s Shelter and Friends of Cats.

There will also be a pet expo with treats for pets and owners as well as games for kids. Sponsors and exhibitors are now being sought.

This event has been happening for more than 300 years – dating back to the 1700s. In San Diego the annual Benediction of the Beasts celebrates St. Anthony of the Desert, the Patron Saint of Animals, and honors San Diego’s own Father Anthony Ubach.  Because of his hard work, in 1886 a school for Native Americans was established in Old Town.  It was named St. Anthony’s after Father Ubach. All faiths and convictions are welcome to attend this event to celebrate the animals that make our lives so special.  Activities for both animals and families make this celebration both unique and very moving to all who participate.

Admission to this event is free. For more information, visit:  http://www.facebook.com/fiestadereyes or call event producers, j.simms agency at 858-689-9909.

–Extended Shopping Hours, Holiday Performances and 60th Annual Las Posadas—

This weekend Old Town San Diego celebrates the holidays of yesteryear with a two-day long festival full of entertainment, extended shopping hours, and the 60th annual Las Posadas procession.

“This year Old Town we are pulling out all the stops for Holiday in the Park,” said entertainment director, Marco Puente. “We have more live entertainment than we have ever had in years past, and we are celebrating 60 years of having the Las Posadas procession in Old Town San Diego.”

The weekend begins on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. All of the museums, stores and restaurants in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be open and richly decorated for the holidays. Guests will enjoy special holiday treats, and extended shopping hours until 9 p.m., along with strolling carolers and live music.

On the main stage on Saturday starting at 1 p.m., C.A.S.T Academy Christmas Choir, KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy, Encore Youth Theatre Holiday Show Choir will perform for shoppers and visitors to the park. The Dickens Carolers will roam about the park signing traditional Christmas carols at dusk and guest will gather by a bonfire in the middle of the park for free s’mores.

Sunday, Dec. 12 marks the 60th-annual Las Posadas event in Old Town. The Las Posadas procession is a walking reenactment of the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for a birthplace for the Christ child. Everyone is invited to join the candlelit procession and sing traditional holiday songs in both Spanish and English as the players go from inn to inn, asking for symbolic lodging.

Before the procession that takes place at 5 p.m., this event will also feature a daytime celebration with live music, performances and activities for children. A variety of local music and performing arts groups such as Metro Dance, Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church, and St. Rita’s Catholic Church will perform from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be face painting, horse drawn carriage rides and children’s crafts.
The procession culminates with a live nativity scene in front of Casa de Estudillo and a free piñata party at El Fandango Restaurant. After the piñata party, free s’mores will be served at the bonfire the middle of the state at around 6 p.m.
Fiesta de Reyes, Old Town San Diego State Park, El Fandango and the Old Town State Park Merchants Association are sponsoring these events. There is free parking available in the Caltrans parking lot on Taylor Street in Old Town after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. For more information about any of these events, visit Fiestadereyes.com or call 619-297-3100. Text “Fiesta” to 53137 to sign up for weekly updates on events at Fiesta de Reyes or visit www.FiestaDeReyes.com .

Old Town’s Fiesta de Reyes has a special shopping and dining offer starting on Nov. 27, just in time for the holidays. For every $20 that a guest spends at one of the 18 unique Fiesta de Reyes shops, the guest will receive a $5 off coupon valid at the Fiesta de Reyes restaurants: either Barra Barra, Casa de Reyes or The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant.

‘Tis the Season to Shop & Dine at Fiesta de Reyes

The $20 spent in the Fiesta de Reyes plaza can be a combination of purchases throughout the shops. If a patron purchases $100 from a store or stores, he or she will receive five coupons valued at $25, which can be used one per person, per visit I any of the three restaurants.

 

Barra Barra features new world Mexican comfort food and the “Best Margarita in San Diego for only 5 bucks.” Casa de Reyes has superb cocktails and traditional Mexican cuisine served in a lush garden setting. The Cosmo, the crown jewel of Old Town, is a perfect combination of luxurious boutique hotel with indoor and alfresco dining. All throughout the month of December, there will be many fabulous holiday events and live music to entertain family and friends.

 

The coupons are valid at the restaurants through the end of January 2011 and are not valid with any other offer. The Shop and Dine promotion ends Dec. 27.

 

Fiesta de Reyes is within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park at Wallace and Calhoun streets, a one-block stroll from the Old Town Trolley Station.  Free parking is available in the Caltrans parking lot all day on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. For more information call (619) 297-3100 or visit www.FiestaDeReyes.com.  Text “Fiesta” to 53137 to join the Fiesta de Reyes text club, with mobile alerts regarding events as well as future discounts and special offers.