February may be museum month in San Diego but Old Town San Diego State Historic Park has more than 10 free museums open to the public year-round. These museums have ongoing living history activities every Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to educate the public about what life was like in San Diego in the 1800s. The park also hosts free tours daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. that begin at the Robinson-Rose Visitor Center.

“There is no denying that Old Town San Diego State Historic Park has a lot of great things to offer visitors,” stated Interpretation and Education Manager Karen Beery. “We encourage all San Diegans to set a date to experience the state park and explore the way San Diego was in the 19th century.”

Every Saturday of the month, the park offers a different taste of historic trades and craft guilds for visitors. The first Saturday of every month, the park hosts the Print Guild and Tintype Guild. Visitors can have a first-hand experience of how printed word and photography was executed in the early days of California.

On the second Saturday of each month, the park hosts Californio Day. Between 1821 and 1848, people who lived in Southern California were called Californios. The unique cultural heritage and activities of the Californios will be shared and celebrated with visitors.

The third Saturday boasts presentations from the Quilt Guild, Fiber Arts Guild and the Mormon Battalion. Guest of the park will learn about the traditional methods of quilting, spinning, weaving and other fiber arts techniques. Visitors will also learn about the famous military unit, the Mormon Battalion, and how the impact of their service changed the history of San Diego and California.

On the third Saturday of each month, the Quilt Guild teaches park guests about the traditional methods of quilting, spinning, weaving and other fiber arts techniques.

 

On the fourth Saturday, the park hosts the Mountain Men and the Soap Makers Guild. Park visitors will learn about the historic mountain men and the discoveries they found as well as learn the art of soap making.

In conjunction with the different events every Saturday, the park also showcases the Blacksmith Guild’s presentation every Wednesday and Saturday morning and the Quilt Guild every Wednesday afternoon. For more information about the guild schedules of the day and their location in the park, visit the board outside the Robinson-Rose Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center and museums are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. October through April and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May through September. To confirm hours of operation or for more information call 619-220-5422 or visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is hosting the third annual Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, Jan. 15, from noon to 3 p.m. The blessing is led by Monsignor Mark Campbell, but all faiths and convictions are welcome to celebrate the animals that make our lives so special. The blessings will take place between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

There will be a pet expo with treats for pets and owners as well as activities for kids. Sky Hunters will be bringing exotic birds to the event and various rescue groups such as Emergency Animal Rescue and Wee Companions will educate the public about rescuing, rehabilitating and supporting wild and domesticated animals.

 

Monsignor Mark Campbell blesses Chopper the Biker Dog at last years Blessing of the Animals celebration in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

There will also be animals available for adoption and a special appearance by Chopper the Biker Dog. Chopper is an one-year-old Boston terrier who is known all around the county for riding his own Harley Davidson motorcycle and his distinctive biker goggles.

The event features animal-themed entertainment such as pet psychic readings by Sindi Somers from Wild and Tame.  Other groups participating include Love My Pet, Santee Bunny Shelter, and Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego.

 

Historically, 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. Activities for both animals and families make this celebration both unique and very moving to all who participate.

Admission to this event is free. This event is sponsored by j.simms agency, Fiesta de Reyes and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. For more information, visit:  http://www.facebook.com/fiestadereyes or call event producers, j.simms agency at 858-689-9909.