A PCF 816 swift boat lead a parade with dozens of private boats that started at Point Loma, going down to the Coronado Bridge and back.
The Veterans Day Boat Parade on San Diego Bay will include dozens of boats in a salute to those who have served. Photo by Chris Stone

The clouds have parted and the rain has gone away this San Diego weekend, just in time for veterans. Their special day is Friday and there’s events throughout the weekend to thank them for their service.

A good start? Grab lunch if you’re anywhere around downtown Friday because there’s an event on the water celebrating veterans. The Fleet Week Veterans Day Boat Parade starts off from Shelter Island at noon with prime viewing from Shelter and Harbor Island, Broadway Pier and Coronado. It’s not just boats – see a Coast Guard demo and a vintage plane flyover too.

Who else is stepping up for vets?

  • The Salute to Service Festival at the USS Midway Museum, starting at 10 a.m. Friday, is for vets and their families. Admission is free with military ID for the service member or vet and four family members. Enjoy live music, free food, kids activities and contests aboard the retired carrier. There’s free admission to the museum too.
  • The San Diego Children’s Choir performs at 5 p.m. Friday with a guest appearance by a string quartet from the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra. The concert, with more than 130 singers ages 8-18, features music from composers who served, including Navy vet Bill Withers and Air Force vet Henry Mancini. Tickets start at $14 for the show, at La Jolla’s Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.
  • SeaWorld hosts its “Red, White and Blue Salute” through Sunday, with deals for both veterans and active-duty military.

Three of the marquee events at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival take place this weekend, with the Grand Decant on Friday at Liberty Station, the Grand Tasting at Embarcadero Marina Park North on Saturday and the new Grand Fiesta, also at Liberty Station, on Sunday. Package passes are available for all three events, but individual admission starts at $95.

The San Diego Asian Film Festival, continuing through Saturday, features 130 films, its biggest slate since before the pandemic. Films on Friday and Saturday, including entries from the restored classics and masters slates, screen at the Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Natural History Museum. Admission for individual screenings starts at $12.

North County and Native Americans
The Valley Arts Festival in Oceanside marks the heritage of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians
and includes activities for youngsters. Photo credit: studioace.org/valley-arts-festival

The Valley Arts Festival in Oceanside showcases Native American flute music with and blues music along with historic cultural items plus a variety of interactive family-friendly activities, including the creation of community murals. The free event, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Heritage Park, celebrates a Luiseño Tribe, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians.

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but how about a serving of a holiday fantasy classic for free? Yes please. See the Nutcracker, performed by the San Diego Youth Ballet, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park at 2 p.m Sunday.  Watch as young Clara experiences a bit of magic on Christmas Eve, then must stave off the evil Mouse King.