— Experience a Traditional Mexican Independence Celebration —

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting Mexican Independence Day with traditional activities from the 1800s when San Diego was still part of Mexico—including lively dancing, music, food and drink. This free festival commemorates one of the most important days in Mexico’s history — independence from Spain in 1810. The event is Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to 4 p.m.

The cannon firing salute kicks off the historical activities including the “Changing of the Flag” ceremony, an “El Grito” contest, parade, games, crafts and more.

A short parade around the plaza along with horses, dancers, and people in historical costumes is part of the activities at the Fiestas Patrias celebration on Saturday, Sept. 17 in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Attendees can march in the short parade around the plaza along with horses, dancers, and people in historical costumes. The parade is scheduled to follow the “Changing of the Flag” ceremony at noon.

Following the parade, there will be games, contests and demonstrations that represent the activities enjoyed by the early settlers of San Diego. Park guests can relax and picnic in the grassy area in front of the stage that will be filled with free entertainment such as historical dancing and music.  A special theatrical production “The Bells of Dona Josefa” will be performed free of charge at 12:45 p.m. on the Fiesta de Reyes stage and 2:45 p.m. on the plaza stage.

Other stage entertainment includes Ballet Folklorico Real de San Diego, Los Bailadores Dance Group and Los Diegos music group.

This celebration is an independence celebration like no other in Alta and Baja California.  The event is sponsored by Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, Boosters of Old Town and Fiesta de Reyes.

The park is located on San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street, and is conveniently next to the Old Town Transit Center, with Coaster, trolley, and MTS bus service. Free parking is available in the Caltrans parking lot on Taylor Street in Old Town after 3 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. For more information go to www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego  or call 619-220-5422.

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Author Linda McMillin Pyle is hosting a book signing on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Old Town Gift Co., located in Old Town’s Fiesta de Reyes. From 4 to 6 p.m., the local author will sign her books about exploring the trails of Southern California where she shares 30 single day journeys with 55 tempting, trail-tested recipes for beach, mountain or inland valley picnics.

Linda McMillin Pyle will be signing her books “Pacific Peaks and Picnics: Day Journeys in San Diego Country” and “Peaks, Picnics, and Palms: Day Journeys in the Mountains and Deserts of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley of San Diego” in Old Town on Saturday, Aug. 27.

Drawing on her 20 years of outdoor experience, Pyle wrote two books about hiking in the San Diego area that she will be sharing at the book signing.

 

One piece of literature is the “Pacific Peaks and Picnics: Day Journeys in San Diego Country,” which is a guide to the hiking and biking trails of the popular and unknown areas of the county. It offers comprehensive instructions for various hikes and her famous picnic recipes for along the way.

“Peaks, Picnics, and Palms: Day Journeys in the Mountains and Deserts of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley of San Diego,” is a book written in a narrative style, which highlights natural history of local trails and paths. This book includes scenic picnic locations and simple recipes as well.

“It is my mission to get everyone outside into nature of San Diego and Palm Springs with my books,” said Pyle. “I want my literature to inspire that within locals who don’t realize how much beauty there is in Southern California.”

Pyle is a member of the Los Angeles Collective of Poets and Writers.  Her work has also been published in the literary magazine Wednesday, Phantom Seed, and the San Clemente Times.

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

–Well-Known Author and Word-Expert Will Participate in the All-Day, Free Event in Old Town Aug. 20 —

Charles Harrington Elster will be performing at TwainFest on Aug. 20.

Charles Harrington Elster, local author of the popular vocabulary-building program Verbal Advantage and originator of the weekly public radio talk show “A Way With Words,” will be performing for his second year at TwainFest, a free literary festival for all ages. The author will appear in several venues of the free event in Old Town on Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Elster’s first performance will take place in the historic courtroom of The Whaley House at 11:30 a.m.  At 4 p.m., he will deliver a talk about Mark Twain in the Seeley Stable Theatre in the state park. Elster will also be available for book signing.

In addition to speeches by Charles Harrington Elster, TwainFest will feature abbreviated Shakespeare by Cygnet Theatre’s “Storytellers on the Green."

Elster has been a guest contributor to the “On Language” column of The New York Times Magazine and his articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune.  Some of his books include “Test of Time,” a time-travel story which features Mark Twain, and “The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations,” which the late William Safire of The New York Times hailed as “the best survey of the spoken field in years.”

TwainFest is an all-day festival that celebrates 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 utilize venues throughout the state park. Performances and activities will also be given at the Whaley House Museum.

TwainFest will also feature a literary tea at the Casa de Estudillo, “Twain For Kids” in the Seeley Stable Theatre, a 19th century literary séance, abbreviated Shakespeare by Cygnet Theatre’s “Storytellers on the Green,” puppetry on the Fiesta de Reyes stage and musicians on the Plaza Palladium.  Other family-fare includes the Mark Twain Quotation Machine, antique printing press demonstrations, The Great Moon Hoax of 1835,  the election of 1872 (literacy tests included!), and old San Diego’s version of the Pony Express.

TwainFest games include Fish for Words, Chortle This!, Telegraph Crunch,  a 19th Century Spelling Bee, and a community-wide “NeverEnding Story” to which anyone may contribute.

Period lawn games include sack races, marbles, ring toss and a variation on the Calaveras County Frog Jumping Contest.  Everyone who engages in an activity will get a ticket which can be redeemed for free book at the TwainFest Book Emporium.

Authentic music of the early 19th century including frontier instruments and songs will be demonstrated in the Mormon Battalion Living History booth located on the plaza.

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.  The Whaley House Museum is located on the corner of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street just two blocks from the entrance to the state park.  For more information about TwainFest, visit www.writeoutloudsd.com or call 619-297-8953.