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    Romeo and Juliet are getting married
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 3323 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
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    In 2012 City Ballet of San Diego received standing ovations and endless praise for its performance of “Romeo and Juliet.” This year, the Pacific Beach-based ballet company’s final show ended with a surprise that shocked the audience and changed two performers' lives. Throughout the performance it was the intricate costumes, set designs and acrobatics, along with the timeless love story that amazed audience members. When the show came to an end, it was an act by Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, that stole the show and the hearts of everyone in the room. At the end of the performance, while the performers lined up to take their final bows, Candreva ran to take a prop off stage, or so everyone thought. In reality, Candreva had left to retrieve an engagement ring for his on and off stage Juliet. Seconds later, Candreva returned and on one knee, in front of a full house, proposed to his girlfriend and dance partner of six years Erica Alvarado. According to Candreva, it was the only way he ever imagined it happening. “Romeo and Juliet is extra special to me,” Candreva said. “It is such a passionate and romantic ballet, and everything from the chemistry we share in our relationship to dancing the steps together felt so natural with Erica, the proposal too felt natural.” Alvarado said that Candreva has always been theatrical and romantic but that she did not see this coming. She said she had been engulfed in becoming Juliet for the last two hours and had not thought once that night about a proposal. “The whole company knew about the proposal the day before I popped the question,” Candreva said. “I had put that off because I didn't want word getting out to Erica, the surprise factor mattered to me.” Members of the dance company who witnessed the romantic event said his timing was thoughtful and heart warming. Managing director Jo Anne Emery said the entire dance company was impressed with how well Candreva kept his secret and how beautifully it all came together. Candreva and Alvarado met six years ago as members of the Milwaukee Ballet and a year later both coincidentally received contracts with City Ballet of San Diego. Candreva said he has always known she was the one he would marry and had planned to propose last season but chose to wait for the “Romeo and Juliet” performance. “Ballet drives both of our lives,” Candreva said. “Ballet is what brought us together and really what better play is there to propose after than ‘Romeo and Juliet’ where you two danced the roles of Romeo and Juliet?”
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    Deep-fried pizza, steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme at this year’s fair
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 2004 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried lemonade and just about anything that can fit in the fryer, plus steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, should keep fairgoers Mad About the Fair, which starts June 3 in Del Mar. PHOTO BY LAINIE FRASER
    Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried lemonade and just about anything that can fit in the fryer, plus steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, should keep fairgoers Mad About the Fair, which starts June 3 in Del Mar. PHOTO BY LAINIE FRASER
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    As the largest fair in California, attracting more than 1.5 million people last year alone, the San Diego County Fair hopes to break the attendance record with this year's theme, “Mad About the Fair,” running June 3 through July 4. Fusing the inventive and artistic movement of steampunk with the magical world of Lewis Carroll's “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” the Del Mar Fairgrounds have been transformed into Alice's world of wonder and amazement. Events like Tea Time in Wonderland and the Mad Hatters Dance Party are designed to transport those in attendance to a world full of characters in eclectic costumes and a variety of fried foods to go along. “We had this retro-futuristic vision for this year's fair,” Frederick Schenk, Agricultural Association Board member said. “We are grateful for how it has come together and for the outreach by the San Diego Steampunk Society.” Members of the San Diego Steampunk Society have worked diligently for months to create handcrafted costumes that are both Alice in Wonderland and steampunk inspired. Their work and adaptation of the storybook characters has been deemed a success by Schenk. According to Linda Zweig, director of media relations for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the fair should feel like a wild tea party with food and people to match. “If you invite the steampunk community, they will make it a show,” Zweig said. With 10 festivals, daily contests, events and nightly entertainment, all 26 days of this year's fair are planned to impress from open until close. “There are magical manifestations and outlandish landscapes to highlight every single day of this fair,” Schenk said. Of the festivals planned for this year's fair, the San Diego International Beer Festival is scheduled for June 17 to 19 and is projected to attract a large crowd for the third year in a row. “Unlimited beer sampling from your backyard and around the world will make you grin like a Cheshire cat,” Schenk said. There are nine stages at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and each is scheduled to host musical, comedic and theatrical performances all day. Acts are family friendly, and many are free with an admission ticket. Headliners include Lady Antebellum, Grand Funk Railroad and Kenny Rogers, to name a few. “We want everyone to go completely bonkers,” said Tim Fennell, CEO of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. “What matters this year is food, fun and frolic, so please sip, savor and sample.” The newest feature to the fair this year is the California Grown Exhibit. It is an attempt to honor the agricultural history of the state and recognize California as the number one farming state in the nation. The exhibit is equip with farm animals and machinery and is intended to educate people about the past- and present-day farmer as well as the impact agriculture has across the state and nation. The exhibit will have three parts depicting farming yesterday, today and tomorrow. Food that is locally sourced and served farm to table will be available at the fair. “We want everyone to travel around this wonderful state through food and drink,” Schenk said. Planning for the 2016 fair began the day the 2015 fair ended, and, according to Zweig, it has been the board's intention from the start to make it the best one yet. “We are absolutely mad about the fair, and we want to open San Diego's mind to the eclectic world of steampunk,” Schenk said. Adult tickets for the fair are $16, and group promotions and passes are available online and at the fairgrounds. For more information about this year's fair and a chance to win merchandise as well as discounted admission tickets, the San Diego County Fair Street Team will be at the Fiesta Del Sol in Solana Beach, the D6 Night Market and the Balboa Park Garden Party in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, see sdfair.com for more.
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    Bill Walton sculpture as large as his life
    May 19, 2016 | 19304 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
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    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. Walton, a lifelong cycling enthusiast, is commemorated in bronze with his bicycle. The statue stands 6 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 1,200 pounds. Alison Brown, the bronze sculptor who created the monument, took exact measurements of Walton’s bicycle, his shoes and other personal items. These were carefully replicated in the finished work, a life-size, highly detailed replica of the man himself. ‘In clay, every fingerprint, every detail created in the sculpture is transferred into bronze. When the sculpture is ultimately cast, the finished monument reflects every tiny detail in bronze,’ said Brown. Walton led the UCLA Bruins to national championships in the early 1970s before joining the NBA and playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego Clippers, and Boston Celtics. Walton won two NBA championships and was named the NBA’s most valuable player. He was eventually inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.
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    Local volunteers, teamwork kept tour's Stage 1 rolling along
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 18, 2016 | 3984 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The riders head over the Ingraham Street bridge at the beginning of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California in Mission Bay. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
    The riders head over the Ingraham Street bridge at the beginning of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California in Mission Bay. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
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    The riders head south on the Ingraham Street bridge near the end of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California in Mission Bay. / Photo by Patty Sammuli
    The riders head south on the Ingraham Street bridge near the end of Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California in Mission Bay. / Photo by Patty Sammuli
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    Spectators cheer on the sprint finish of Stage 1 at Quivira Way in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Spectators cheer on the sprint finish of Stage 1 at Quivira Way in Mission Bay. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Fans line the Ingraham Street bridge as riders cross at the beginning of Stage 1 in Mission Bay. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
    Fans line the Ingraham Street bridge as riders cross at the beginning of Stage 1 in Mission Bay. / Photo by Mike McCarthy
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    Hundreds of volunteers across the county helped San Diego host Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California this past weekend, and, according to volunteer coordinator Julie Hamilton, their efforts made the event a complete success. The race started in Mission Bay, went south through Imperial Beach, headed east and then eventually went back west through Pacific Beach. It was the first time San Diego hosted the road race, and with a large amount of land to cover, San Diego police, the San Diego Tour of California Local Organizing Committee, and Amgen worked together to make the event happen with as few issues as possible.  “Our success is measured by the community outreach and response, and I am proud to say this was an absolute success,” said Ed Clancy, chairman of the San Diego Tour of California Local Organizing Committee. Through sign-up sheets outside popular businesses, print and online advertising and a variety of media commercials and fan engagement, more than 300 volunteers gathered to give their time on Sunday. “It was an incredible weekend for San Diego and particularly the Mission Bay area,” said Kim Merrill, spokesperson for the San Diego Tour of California Local Organizing Committee. Clancy says he is fortunate that Mayor Kevin Faulconer is as interested in sports as he is and says he cannot thank the community members – from all around the county – enough for doing their part. “We are a grassroots system, and it was through community engagement events and a genuine interest by residents that we were able to pull this off,” Clancy said. The volunteers arrived at 6 a.m. the morning of the race and set up barricades, closed lanes, facilitated traffic, escorted racers and went door to door handing out fliers and informing residents of the event. “A lot of the volunteers simply love San Diego and love volunteering,” Clancy said. “They were given a behind the scenes look at an event, which a lot of people were excited about, but I think most of these people just love the community.” Initial planning for the event began roughly two years ago. The route for the race and the roles for the volunteers were finalized in November of last year. The last two months prior to the race were described by Clancy as “madhouse crunch time” and were spent finalizing details and fully preparing the volunteers. Part of this preparation took place at an orientation earlier in May that pressed safety as the number one concern for the Local Organizing Committee. “The orientation was very important to us,” Clancy said. “It was all about safety, safety, safety. Safety of the volunteers, riders and spectators.” Clancy, Hamilton and Merrill were impressed by the success of the event and hope to host the race again as was Faulconer who said he would like the race to be an annual event in San Diego.
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    Mission Bay High surfers catch that winning wave
    by DAVE THOMAS
    May 16, 2016 | 7093 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Pearl Moore is a senior standout on the Mission Bay High School surf team.
    Pearl Moore is a senior standout on the Mission Bay High School surf team.
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    Lucas Monari
    Lucas Monari
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    Lili Christenson
    Lili Christenson
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    Doug Cromar
    Doug Cromar
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    While you might mostly associate the spring sports season with baseball, softball, lacrosse, swimming, you’d be missing out on some great action if you did not know about the Mission Bay High surf team. Led by head coach Greg Farrar, the Buccaneers have grown into quite the solid surfing program. “I revived the team as an advisor in the fall of 2011,” Farrar said. “I have always coached athletics at MBHS (19 years). “I have coached freshmen and JV football my entire career. Also as alumni of MBHS, I coached JV baseball under Dennis Pugh for many years and coached the varsity for five years following his retirement. After baseball, I decided it would be a great time to revive the surf team.” As Farrar noted, “MBHS, Pacific, and Mission beaches have always been a hotbed for surfers for decades, so I felt I'd like to tap into our student body to see if we could begin to build a winner (The team competes in Division IV of the Scholastic Surf Series).” The team season is a round-robin format. Mission Bay High surfs head-to-head against each team, each contest. The top three male and female surfers in each heat move on to individual rounds in the afternoon of the contest. “This season we finished second overall in our division with a 3-1-1 record. We narrowly missed being champs by coming up short 60-55 to El Camino High School (4-0) in the season finale,” Farrar stated. “What I acknowledged real quickly was that surfers are talented in many areas,” Farrar went to say. “Of the 16 male and female surfers on the team, 14 of them play at least one additional CIF sport. “Many play baseball, girls’ volleyball, water polo, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming, tennis, and some participate in our outstanding music program. Also, many manage part-time jobs as well as a demanding academic course load. “Many of my surfers elect to take our most rigorous IB curriculum. As a result, many of this year's graduates are reaping the benefits,” Farrar added. Farrar noted some of the top members of the team, including: * Pearl Moore – Finished third overall in women's longboard. She has been in the top five of 40 longboarders every season. She participated in volleyball and led her team to CIF runner-up this year. She has been accepted to and will be attending UCLA next fall. * Doug Cromar – Joined the team this year (longboard). He is a CIF swimmer, water polo member, and golfer. IB student and will attend Cal Pol San Luis Obispo next fall. * Jacob Pangalos – An IB student and member of the MB short-boarders, he will attend SDSU next year and study business and psychology. According to Farrar, there is lots of talent returning for next year. On the boys’ side, Kieran Wills (perennial top 10 finisher), Andy Dorris, Brent Stoll, Andrew Feighan, Jake Halvin, Thomas Grigolite, Nicholas Campagna, Matthew Ferries and Dylan Upton all return for 2017. On the girls’ side, Ciara Gray and Amanda Moland will be back to lead the way next season. “I am looking forward to meeting incoming freshmen surfers from Pacific Beach Middle School's team, the PB Locals,” Farrar said. “The MBHS team is self-supporting and needs to raise fees each year for participation in the Scholastic Surf Series, as well as provide hats, T-shirts and gear to the team members. We regularly have a fundraising booth at the PB Beachfest each year.” If you’re thinking that being a member of this team might be fun, surf on over to Farrar and get started.
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