–All Aboard for Old Town; Next Stop Stagecoach Days at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park–

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is celebrating travel and transportation in the era of real horsepower at “Stagecoach Days” from noon to 4 p.m. on seven Saturdays in July and August.

The free event features a different theme each Saturday such as: Californio Day, Women of the West, Soldiers and Citizens, TwainFest and Cattle Drive. Attendees will enjoy afternoons filled with activities that reflect life in early San Diego and celebrate the West on the move.

Through vignettes, demonstrations, living history activities, stories and songs, visitors will gain an appreciation for early modes of transportation and daily life. It’s been over a century since the last stage line operated in San Diego. Beginning in 1857, stage lines passed through rural San Diego moving passengers, freight and mail.

These new services helped bring the outside world closer to the emerging frontier community that we know today as San Diego.

The 2011 Stagecoach Days schedule is:

July 9 – “Californio Day” – Between 1821 through 1848, the people who lived in Southern California were called “Californios” rather than Mexicans. Those unique “Californio” cultural elements will be presented this Saturday.

“Californio Day”

July 16 — “Women of the West” — Women played an important part in the development of the West. Some of the daily activities of these women will be demonstrated on this Saturday.

“Women of the West”

July 23 — “Innocent Amusements” — In the 1800s, games and amusements were commonly associated with either large celebrations or after-school play days incorporating most of the local townspeople. This day will pay tribute to traditional games of the time.

“Innocent Amusements"

July 30 –“Trades That Shaped Westward Expansion” — As towns developed in the West so did the need for specialized trades and artisans. Old Town San Diego will present pivotal 19th century trades that shaped the community of San Diego.

“Trades That Shaped Westward Expansion”

August 6– “Soldiers and Citizens” — In the mid-1840s, California went to war with Mexico. United States troops were stationed and fought in San Diego County in an effort to support the war. This day will feature military practices that changed San Diego forever.

“Soldiers and Citizens”

“Soldiers and Citizens”

August 13– “Californio Day” — The unique “Californio” cultural elements will be presented again this Saturday.

“Californio Day”

August 20 — TwainFest —  Presented by Write Out Loud, the festival marks 101 years of Mark Twain’s passing and celebrates 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.

"TwainFest"

August 27– Cattle Drive — Cattle was the single most important economic resource for Southern California for over 50 years. This day will give the opportunity to learn about the hide and tallow trade, chuck wagon cooking, roping, branding, saddle making and more.

"Cattle Drive"

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, with the support of the Boosters of Old Town and Fiesta de Reyes, is proud to offer these free activities for adults and children of all ages. The park is located on San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street, conveniently located next to the Old Town Transit Center, with Coaster, Trolley, and MTS bus service. For more information, go to http://www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego.

–The Father of American Literature Comes to Old Town for a Second Year –

Fiesta de Reyes Historic Interpreter Eric Minella will reprise his part of Mark Twain at TwainFest on Aug. 20 in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

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 on Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the park’s plaza with added presentations at the Whaley House Museum.

The festival marks 101 years of Mark Twain’s passing and celebrates the American author as well as some of his peers who are famous writers of the 19th century. You can expect to hear written works from Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edgar Allan Poe and others. Excerpts will be read aloud by costumed San Diego actors at a variety of park venues throughout the day.

The presentations will include readings of 19th century literature, 19th century music and sing-a-longs, “Mark Twain for Kids” at Steely Stables, “Garden of Literary Delights” at Casa de Estudillo, Prof. Pudd’nhead & Co. puppets on the Fiesta de Reyes stage and a 19th century séance conjuring Edgar Allan Poe & Mary Shelly.

Literary games will delight the entire family, as well as sack races, tug of war, marbles, ring toss and other games of the period for the kids. There will be unique family games to promote literature like Fish for Words, Chortle This! and Telegraph Crunch. A spelling bee will run throughout the day as well as a community-wide Never Ending Story to which anyone who wishes may contribute. Admission is free to the public at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Other sponsors include j. simms agency, Cygnet Theatre, Geppetto’s Toys, heART of Old Town, Lamb’s Players Theatre, Playwrights Project, Arthur & Jeanette Pratt Memorial Fund and The Heller Foundation. For more information, contact Walter Ritter from Write Out Loud at 619-297-8953 or by email at writeoutloudsd@gmail.com.

Contestants will be put to the test to see who can cook up the spiciest and tastiest hot sauce and salsa recipe at Hot Lick’s Annual Amateur Hot Sauce and Salsa contest on July 23rd. The Fiery Food event is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and winners of the competition will be announced at 3 p.m. at the Fiesta de Reyes Stage in front of Hot Licks. Guests of the competition will get to sample various hot sauces, salsas and barbecue sauces.

Hot Licks' judges will be tasting the different sauces to determine the winner at this year's competition.

Entries may be dropped off at the store beginning Thursday, July 21, and must be received no later than 3 p.m. Friday, July 22. Entry forms and rules are available at the store or at www.2hotlicks.com.

Hot Licks is located in Fiesta De Reyes at the northeast corner of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and between Wallace, at the corner of Calhoun, one block from Juan Street, where free parking is available after 5 p.m. each day at the CalTrans headquarters. For more information about this event, call Adrienne at (619) 293-3111 or email at Adrienne@2hotlicks.com.

Check out all these great links that Fiesta de Reyes is featured on SanDiego.com.

Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant (article): http://www.sandiego.com/entertainment/what-s-new-the-cosmopolitan-hotel-restaurant

Four San Diego Restaurants with a Vibrant Past (article): http://www.sandiego.com/restaurant/review/san-diego-restaurants-with-a-vibrant-past

San Diego’s Top Lobby Bars (article) http://www.sandiego.com/travel/san-diego-s-top-hotel-lobby-bars

Dining in San Diego’s Old Town (article): http://www.sandiego.com/restaurant/review/dining-in-san-diego-s-old-town

Balboa Park’s Steampunk Design Content (a mention): http://www.sandiego.com/things-to-do/balboa-park-s-steampunk-design-contest

Fiesta de Reyes listing: http://directory.sandiego.com/listing/fiesta-de-reyes.html

Fiesta de Reyes event: http://directory.sandiego.com/event/celebrate-cinco-de-mayo-in-historic-old-town-san-diego-state-park.html

Cinco de Mayo guide (listed at bottom): http://www.sandiego.com/cinco-de-mayo/cinco-de-mayo

Cinco de Mayo guide (article, more about general Old Town not specifically any location): http://www.sandiego.com/things-to-do/cinco-de-mayo-festivities-held-throughout-san-diego

Cinco de Mayo listing: http://directory.sandiego.com/event/celebrate-cinco-de-mayo-in-historic-old-town-san-diego-state-park.html

http://www.sandiego.com/attractions

http://www.sandiego.com/restaurants

http://www.sandiego.com/old-town

Local chefs Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver will be hosting a book signing from 4 to 6 p.m. on July 9 at Fiesta Cocina in Old Town’s Fiesta de Reyes courtyard for their award-winning cookbook, “Flying Pans: Two Chefs One World.” The chefs are also bringing a sampling of their desserts for guests to taste.

“We are so excited to share this cookbook with the people of San Diego,” said Guillas. “We offer all types of valuable knowledge about different cuisines from all over the world for anyone who enjoys cooking.”

Bernard Guillas is the executive chef of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and the landmark Marine Room restaurant. He has been seen on the Today Show and was awarded Chef of the Year by Chef Magazine.  Ron Oliver is the chef de cuisine of the Marine Room and has led the restaurant to be considered one of the best restaurants in San Diego.

The two Southern California chefs recently took home multiple honors at the prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals 2011 Cookbook Awards. Their debut cookbook bestowed two monumental wins, beating out over 500 entries and various celebrity chefs in two categories: People’s Choice and Chefs and Restaurants. The cookbook was also voted by IACP members and the general public as the favorite book from the 2011 roster of category finalists.

In addition to these two wins, “Flying Pans” was a finalist in the Best Photography and Food Styling category. In 2010, the cookbook was named one of the Top 10 Cookbooks of the Year by ForeWord Reviews and was named Cookbook of the Year at the San Diego Book Awards.

For more information on the book signing, contact (619) 297-3100 or visit www.FiestaDeReyes.com.