National Carousel Day, the Balboa Park Carousel and the California Tower speakers

Posted: July 6th, 2018 | Featured, Growing Balboa Park | No Comments

By John Bolthouse | Growing Balboa Park

Friends of Balboa Park, a nonprofit that champions the legacy and beauty of the park, is stewarding a number of exclusive opportunities for the community to celebrate and enhance Balboa Park.

Come and join the fun at the second annual National Carousel Day on Wednesday, July 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the historic Balboa Park Carousel. The event will be filled with entertainment, food, children’s activities, and free carousel rides all day!

Balboa Park Carousel (Photos courtesy of Friends of Balboa Park)

Featured family-friendly entertainment will include the Hullabaloo Band, Kathryn the Grape, Fern Street Circus, J7 Productions, Ms. Twisty, the San Diego Opera’s Words & Music Program at La Maestra Center for Youth Advancement, Creative Dancers, 78 antique cars from the San Diego Model A Car Club, face painting and much more!

Delectable food vendors will include Nana’s Heavenly Hot Dogs, Famoso Mexican Street Food, fresh-squeezed lemonade from San Diego Lemon Life, Bullseye Kettle Corn and cotton candy from Get Fluffed Up.

This event has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of Susan Stone Hayes, Marie Tuthill, San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, Ed and Kathy Brown, Jim and Carmen Hughes of Hughes Heritage Plaza LLC, and Bob and Beverly Russell

Balboa Park Carousel

In 2017, Friends purchased the historic Balboa Park Carousel, and launched a multi-year, $3 million fundraising capital campaign to restore and complete the purchase of the carousel. The campaign recently surpassed the $1.2 million mark, thanks to the community’s generosity. We still have a ways to go to reach our next milestone, and need your support. Please consider a donation today, and help preserve one of the park’s most beloved icons!

California Tower speaker upgrade

The California Tower is getting a great enhancement! Friends of Balboa Park is replacing the old speakers at the top of the tower that amplify the historic carillon. After comprehensive consultation with acoustical engineers and sound projection experts, the antiquated 1940s technology will be replaced with lower-profile, state-of-the-art speakers that will be less visible while providing improved sound.

Donors of $100 or more will receive a complimentary ticket for the California Tower Tour from the Museum of Man, and donors of $500 and more will be recognized on a plaque permanently displayed at the Museum of Man. Donations toward the project will be accepted through July 5, so please consider making a tax-deductible contribution today!

Carillon dedication

Join Friends of Balboa Park on Monday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at Spreckels Organ Pavilion for the dedication of the new California Tower carillon speakers. The event will include a special performance of the carillon and ceremonial gift presentation to the city of San Diego with Councilmember Chris Ward and the San Diego Museum of Man. This will be followed by a performance by organist Adam J. Brakelas as part of the Spreckels Summer Organ Festival, honoring the establishment of San Diego on this very day.

For more information on these events or projects, or to support the Balboa Park Carousel, call 619-232-2282 or visit

Friends of Balboa Park is a nonprofit affinity organization that champions and enhances the park through donations and programs. The group has spearheaded major capital improvement initiatives throughout Balboa Park, including information kiosks; restoration of the historic gate houses and Lily Pond; Adopt-A-Plot; dedicated bench program; tree dedications; operation of the historic Balboa Park Carousel; and other programs that facilitate the community’s direct involvement in the enhancement of Balboa Park.

—John Bolthouse is the executive director of Friends of Balboa Park. For more information, visit

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