We ended up our Cali visit in San Diego's Little Italy for the Columbus Day Festa...my 'Legoland', no, better than that!! It was a beautiful, 80 degree day and the crowd was estimated at around 100K, and I believe it. We got there around 9:00 and left around 3:00 or so.
First, we went to Bella Stanza and visited with Jeanne, the owner, who had just returned from Italy. She got to meet Bella and was delighted. She showed us all of the new stuff she brought home and mesmerized us with tales of Venice, Florence and Palermo. She presented Autumn with a new 'Ciao Bella' hat (sorry, no photos yet, I'll take some!) , and shared her newest photos of her grandchildren with us.
Then, we dug into the crowd. Of course, the bambini wanted to play!
This little number had the bambini hooked to super strength bungee cords and the object was to take a velcro bean bag and see how far out you could place it on the strip of velcro running along the dividing wall. Cody really got whipped around as he used his burst of speed to lunge the farthest with his bean bag!
Next, the Gesso Italiano (Italian chalk) art - this was Kim's favorite event at the Columbus Day Festa and she would look at each and every piece of art. They stretch a full three city blocks along Date Street.
The Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene caught my eye on this one...another Kim favorite...
There was also a large section where artists were reproducing the Sistine Chapel to celebrate the 150th year of Italy's unification (by Mazzini).
We stopped by Amici park to see some of the bocce ball tourney. Kim entered me in this about 8 years ago or so...these old players schooled me good!
The gentleman tossing the ball here, was a crowd favorite and very good player. This is the type of character that Kim came to see and I knew she'd have made me get a picture...so I did! He was very entertaining.
Next,we visited Our Lady of the Rosary church and saw some of the Lady's procession. They have been doing the procession since the 50's, when they'd walk from the church to the harbor and bless the tuna boats before they'd go out for the season. I wanted to go to Mass and see the whole procession, but was out voted 3-1, but, the bambini indulged me for a little while...
They had stick ball games, pizza tossing contests, a block of Italian sports cars and Ducati motorcycles (Cody took a bunch of pictures!!), cooking demo's and lots of street performances. The highlight was Louis Prima Jr. (his dad was the guy who wrote "Just a Gigolo" and was King Louis in The Jungle Book).
Bella did great in the crowd and I only lost Antonio once...briefly. We stopped back at Bella Stanza to say goodbye before driving back to Tucson.
We arrived by late, but the bambini insisted on lighting the Our Mother of Guadalupe and St. Jude candles in Kimmy's nitcho so they could say goodnight...I welcomed them home, just as she always did...