Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – April 30 – May 5, 2013

Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

From Cinco de Mayo in Old Town, to bugs paired with local beers in Balboa Park, to Bluegrass music in East County, there’s a lot going on! Here are the top things to do in San Diego this weekend:

Cinco de Mayo

Mariachis in Old Town

Mariachis entertain throughout San Diego this Cinco de Mayo.

Ajua! Celebrate the culture, dance, music and food of Mexico during the weekend long celebration of Cinco de Mayo in San Diego.

> Read our blog post on Cinco de Mayo 2013

Bugs & Beer, A True Test of Your Taste Buds!

Jerusalem Cricket - San Diego Natural History Museum

“But be forewarned! The stars of this exhibition are sure to delight the young, inquisitive minds in your family and some grownups might find the little creatures quite outrageous.” Dr. Michael W. Hager

Sip, sample, and savor edible insect delights and enjoy a selection of local brews. Not feeling up to eating arthropods? Not to worry, as there will be hosted appetizers available as well. While your taste buds are experiencing an explosion of flavor, explore Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders! Learn from Dr. Michael Wall, Museum Curator of Entomology, how insects help create the amazing flavors we experience in our everyday foods!

Where: San Diego Natural History Museum – 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 1, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $20-$25
> Find out more about Bugs & Beer, A True Test of Your Taste Buds!

Ramona Bluegrass & Old West Fest

Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Festival - Top Things to Do In San Diego

Enjoy Bluegrass music and an Old West Festival all weekend long

Enjoy two full days of bluegrass and old-fashioned cowboy music, along with jam sessions and workshops for children, at the Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Festival. Make it the whole weekend by camping under the stars as the music in the background lulls you to sleep.

Where: Ramona Outdoor Community Center – 421 Aqua Lane, Ramona, CA 92065
When: May 4-5, 2013
Cost: $5-$20. Entry with Camping Spot – $15-$40
> Find out more about the Ramona Bluegrass & Old West Fest

Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Enjoy a day of shopping, food and entertainment at the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Considered the largest single day street faire in the nation, the annual Carlsbad Village Street Faire features vendors sell everything from clothes, accessories, plants and household products to art, antiques and home decor; an international food court; and a children’s entertainment area includes games, a super slide, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, face painting and arts and crafts.

Where: Grand Avenue between Carlsbad Blvd. and Jefferson St.
When: May 5, 2013
Time: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

2nd Annual Chocolate Festival

2nd Annual Chocolate Festival at the Maritime Museum of San Diego - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Perfect for adults and children the 2nd Annual Chocolate Festival: A Celebration of Chocolate on the Bay, a tasting and educational showcase and festival featuring food, wine, and of course, a variety of chocolate treats. Kids activities include games with prizes, a scavenger hunt and building a personal chocolate pizza.

Where: Maritime Museum of San Diego – 1492 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 4-5, 2013
Cost: Members – Free. Nonmembers – $15.
> Find out more about the 2nd Annual Chocolate Festival

Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour and Festival

Sage & Songbirds Festival - Butterflies

Butterfly releases at Sage & Songbirds Festival.

Celebrating Alpine’s designation as America’s First Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation with and Garden tour and a festival including caterpillar races, butterfly releases, live birds of prey, live hummingbirds, snakes, reptiles, bugs & other critters, a garden mart, plant sales, opportunity drawings and live entertainment.

Where: Viejas Outlet Center – 5000 Willows Road, Alpine, CA 91901
When: May 3-5, 2013
Cost: Free. Garden Tour – $20
> Find out more about the Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour and Festival

Del Mar National Horse Show

Del Mar National Horse Show - Hunter/Jumper Week

Don’t miss out on the exciting Hunter/Jumper Competitions at the Del Mar National Horse Show

The last week of the Del Mar National Horse Show is dedicated to Hunter/Jumper riding. The week also includes the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar, an evening filled with exciting speed, agility and nail-biting competition!

Where: Del Mar Fair Grounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Dates: Through May 5, 2013
Cost: $10-$19. Weekdays – Free.
> Find out more about the Del Mar National Horse Show

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo 2013 in San Diego

Mariachis in Old Town
Mariachis in Old Town

Mariachis entertain throughout San Diego this Cinco de Mayo.

More than just tacos and tequila, celebrating Cinco de Mayo in San Diego is full of rich, cultural offerings and fun for the whole family. From the first annual Mariachi Festival to the 30th annual Fiesta Old Town, this fifth of May find yourself the perfect place to celebrate the music, food and fun of the Mexican culture.

Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo


Now celebrating its 30th year, Fiesta Old Town is the largest event of its kind in Southern California. This free, three-day event is fun for the whole family including 3 stages of live entertainment, beer garden, bustling Mercado and interactive activities for the kids. Cruise down low-rider lane to check out custom paint jobs and gravity-defying hydraulics on display. Enjoy a high-end tequila tasting or satisfy your appetite by visiting over 20 restaurants featuring holiday specials.

Where: Old Town San Diego
When: May 3-5, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo

Cultura Urbana Cinco de Mayo


This year the craft cocktail crowd has somewhere specific to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. FYC & Twenty Five Stripes present Cultura Urbana Cinco de Mayo in Balboa Park featuring bands, Los Hollywood, Azucar, Sonidero Travesura  and Iabide as well as a host of Djs to spin the day away. Libations provided by the cocktail pros at El Dorado Cocktail Lounge.

Where: El Centro Cultural de la Raza – 2004 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA
When: May 5, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 6:00 PM
Cost: $10 presale. $15 at the door
> Find out more about Cultura Urbana Cinco de Mayo

National City Cinco de Mayo Mariachi Festival

National City Cinco de Mayo Mariachi Festival and Competition

Showcasing Mariachi student groups from the United States and Mexico, this event celebrates San Diego’s heritage through mariachi music and traditional ballet folklórico. Featuring local and national mariachi, the event supports today’s youth in their artistic and educational endeavors.

Where: Pepper Park  – 3299 Tidelands Ave. National City, CA 91950
When: April 27, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
> Find out more about the National City Cinco de Mayo Mariachi Festival

La Colonia Cinco de Mayo

This free, family friendly fiesta in the Solana Beach community features plenty of fun for the kids with live mariachi bands, ballet folklórico, game booths, crafts, piñatas and fun jumps. Alcohol, smoking and pets are not permitted at this event.

Where: La Colonia Park – 715 Valley Avenue, Solana Beach
When: May 4, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
> Find out more about La Colonia Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo with Bazaar del Mundo

The Bazaar del Mundo Family of restaurants will continue the tradition started in 1983 with Cinco de Mayo celebrations at Casa de Pico in La Mesa, Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad and Casa Guadalajara in Old Town. In addition to margarita and cantina specials, each restaurant will have a host of entertainment including mariachis, troubadours and ballet folklóriko.

When: May 4-5, 2013

What are your plans for Cinco de Mayo in San Diego?


May Festivals that Celebrate San Diego’s Ethnic Diversity

Sicilian Festival - Biscotti

Any time is right for celebrating San Diego’s ethnic diversity. But May presents us with a triptych – a chance to join the city’s Mexican, Italian and Portuguese communities as they celebrate their heritage.

Old Town Mexican Dancers

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in San Diego

Cinco de Mayo

The month kicks off with Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that salutes Mexican culture and commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. For San Diegans, it’s another excuse to celebrate frosty lime-infused margaritas, salted salsa-dipped tortilla chips and strolling mariachis.

Party central is Old Town, where the 29th Annual Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo will kick off at 5:00 pm Friday, May 4, and continue through 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 6. Organizers say the bash will be the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration north of the border, with three stages featuring live entertainment, including interactive family friendly fun. Norteno, Flamenco and traditional mariachi groups have been booked to perform. Between acts, more than 20 Old Town restaurants will be offering sizzling Mexican specialties – including, of course, an array of perfectly chilled margaritas.

Check our San Diego Event Calendar for more Cinco de Mayo events…

Sicilian Festival - Biscotti

Find delectable biscotti and more at the Sicilian Festival in Little Italy

The Sicilian Festival

Eat, drink and be Sicilian for a day when Little Italy celebrates its 19th Annual Sicilian Festival on Sunday, May 20. India Street – from Ash to Grape – will be closed for the 10:00 am – 6:00 pm celebration.

Costumed dancers and musicians will set the mood, parading in the street at 11:30 AM, carrying flags from the different regions of Italy. Food booths will sell Sicilian specialties – including Sicilian wines and premium imported Italian beer. Visitors can even test their skill at grape stomping.

Entertainment, on four stages, will include something for everyone: New York City soprano Cristina Fontanelli will sing Italian opera while the Screamin’ Primas promise to keep the crowd moving. The Roman Holiday Ensemble, perennial favorites, will perform as will Allesandra Belloni who’s best known for her traditional Italian folk dancing.

The bambini can get their faces painted while mom and dad ogle sidewalk chalk art or slick Italian beauties at a car show featuring Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis. In the Sicilian cultural zone, locals can learn about Italian-Americans’ role in the rich history of San Diego’s tuna industry.

Portuguese Festa - Sopas

Enjoy delicious Sopas at the annual Portuguese Festa

Annual Portuguese Festa

San Diego’s Portuguese-American community will gather in Point Loma May 25-27 for the 102nd Annual Festa do Espirito Santo (Feast of the Holy Spirit). The city’s oldest ethnic festival commemorates the Holy Spirit’s miraculous intercession helping Portugal’s Queen St. Isabel feed the poor during a centuries-ago famine.

Festa headquarters is the Portuguese Hall at 2818 Avenida De Portugal. Festivities start on Friday evening (May 25) , with an outdoor bazaar that includes Portuguese food vendors, games, folkloric dancing and performances by the Portuguese Philharmonic. Paulo da Rosa and Groovology will take the stage in the main hall for a dance beginning at 8:00 pm. (Admission is free; the dress code requires all to wear pants or jeans – no skirts or dresses.)

On Saturday evening, the bazaar reopens at 5:30 pm, followed by DJ dancing at 6:00 pm. After a 7:00 pm ceremony at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church (1140 Evergreen St.), a candlelight procession will head back to Portuguese Hall for open-air music and folkloric dance performances.

Sunday is the big day. It begins with a 10:00 am parade from Portuguese Hall to the church. Participants include youngsters dressed as angels and saints, marching bands and young women dressed in spectacular gowns and bejeweled capes, representing Portuguese royalty. The parade, which includes many 4th and 5th-generation participants, always includes a salute to the Portuguese-American fishermen who built San Diego’s once thriving tuna industry. After a ceremonial high Mass, around noon, the parade proceeds back to the Portuguese Hall.

At the hall, volunteers serve a traditional meal of Portuguese sopas (beef braised in stock, served with potatoes, cabbage, kale, mint and broth-soaked French bread.) Admission is free but donations are appreciated. The bazaar continues through the afternoon.

The formal Queen’s ball begins at 6:30 pm Sunday in the main hall, with The Mighty Untouchables on stage. An evening wear dress code will be enforced. Teens convene in an outside tent, where a DJ will spin discs from 6:00 – 10:00 pm. A traditional highlight of the evening is the announcement of which Portuguese-American family will host next year’s festa.


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Cinco de Mayo in San Diego doesn’t get any better…and on a weekend? Fabulous! Here are my 5 to Try for this weekend. What will you be doing?

29th Annual Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo

1. 29th Annual Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo

A celebration of Mexican spirit and culture, the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Old Town, the birthplace of San Diego, features music, food and entertainment for the entire family. Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo will be extending its celebration this year from a two-day free festival to a three-day Free festival starting on Friday, May 4th at 3:00 pm and concluding on Sunday, May 6th at 5:00 pm.

Carlsbad Village Street Faire

Carlsbad Village Street Faire

2. Carlsbad Village Street Faire

One of the largest one-day street fairs in California takes place on May 6 in downtown Carlsbad and features hundreds of exhibitors, international food booths and children’s rides.

Oceanside Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

3. Oceanside Cinco De Mayo Fiesta

Guests can celebrate Mexican Independence at the Oceanside Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, held May 6 at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre in San Diego’s North County. In partnership with Univision, the event features live entertainment, vendor booths, food booths, music and more.

16th Annual Festival Cinco de Mayo

4. 16th Annual Festival Cinco De Mayo

On Sunday, May 6th, head to downtown Chula Vista, in San Diego’s South Bay to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The festival includes over 200 vendors, live entertainment, authentic Mexican food and beverages, arts and crafts, a kid’s zone, rides, fashion shows and salsa dancing contests.

Coronado Ferry Landing Concert

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

5. Coronado Ferry Landing Summer Concerts

Every weekend through September, the Coronado Ferry Landing will have free concerts from 2:00 – 4:00 pm on Sundays. This weekend come visit Coronado, sit on the grass, enjoy the views of the Big Bay and listen to Cool Fever.


Cinco to Try for Cinco de Mayo

San Diego is celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a big way. Check out these five fiestas that celebrate Cinco de Mayo throughout the weekend.

  1. Old Town San Diego is the place to be for authentic Mexican food and entertainment for San Diego’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. On May 5th, Fiesta de Reyes, El Fandango and The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant will be hosting special celebrations in honor of the Mexican holiday. Festivities start at 1:00 p.m. at Fiesta de Reyes and will feature live entertainment. El Fandango restaurant is featuring a special menu and The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant will also feature a special menu and live entertainment.
  2. SeaWorld presents Viva La Música, a multi-weekend celebration of Hispanic heritage, complete with live concerts by today’s hottest acts, plus delicious Latin food. This fiery festival will fill your senses with all the sights and sounds of this vibrant culture. Weekends through May 22, 2011.
  3. Catch Cafe Moliendo at Humphreys Backstage on May 5th starting at 8:00 pm. Their Latin rock sounds will surely get you in the mood. Plus, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm all food and beverage is 1/2 off. Muy bueno!
  4. The 14th Annual Festival Cinco de Mayo will take place Sunday, May 8. Features of this flagship Third Avenue event include live entertainment on three stages, authentic food from Mexico and around the world, local crafters and contests. Come join the 30,000 community members who enjoy the festival each year.
  5. Uno, dos, tres…fiesta! In lieu of their Monthly Thursday Mixer, El Cordova Hotel on Coronado Island is joining one of their favorite amigos, Miguel’s Cocina Mexican Restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and you’re INVITED! The party begins at 5:00 pm at the El Cordova Hotel Courtyard.

Cinco to Try This Weekend

San Diego is celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a big way; check out these five weekend fiestas: 

Don't forget to wear your party hat

  1. The 27th Annual Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo takes place this Saturday and Sunday in Old Town State Historic Park.  This FREE event features music and entertainment on five stages, a special kids area, delicious Mexican cuisine (may I please recommend Café Coyote’s handmade tortilla – you can buy them hot of the grill for less than $1 and they are so delicious!) and historical reenactments along the area’s main thoroughfare.  The fiesta takes place from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.
  2. This weekend, SeaWorld San Diego kicks-off its spring Viva La Música concert series with live performances in Shamu Stadium from award-winning Latin artists.  A variety of performances will take place throughout the day from 9:05 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. followed by special performances from Julieta Venegas (8 p.m. on Saturday) and Flex (8 p.m. on Sunday).  Grove to the music, enjoy delicious food and stay late for the Fiesta Fireworks show at 9:15 p.m.  Viva La Música is included with park admission; however, wristbands are required and are only available on a first-come first-serve basis.  
  3. This Sunday is the Third Avenue Village’s FREE Cinco de Mayo & Quinceaňera Extravaganza in Chula Vista.  From 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., over 200 vendors, live entertainment, authentic Mexican food and beverages, arts and crafts, a kid’s zone, rides, fashion shows and salsa dancing contests will take over the city streets. 
  4. This Saturday and Sunday Bazaar del Mundo Shops and Casa Guadalajara Mexican restaurant in Old Town are cooking up a great time with Cino-inspired cuisine and Cincoritas (margaritas in the colors of the Mexican flag).  Additional festivities will include mariachi and folkloric dance performances and arts and craft displays.
  5. Celebrations will also take place this Sunday at the Oceanside Pier Plaza Amphitheatre during the FREE Oceanside Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. The event will feature live entertainment, vendor booths, food booths, music and more from 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.