SAN DIEGO (CNS) - More than 100,000 people crowded Harbor Drive in downtown San Diego for the Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade, a prelude to Wednesday evening's 34th annual Holiday Bowl college football game.
Retired Vice Adm. Edward Martin, a longtime naval aviator who was a prisoner for six years during the Vietnam War, served as grand marshal as the parade celebrated 100 years of naval aviation.
The parade is billed as the largest exhibition of giant character balloons in the western United States. Balloons ranged from Woody of "Toy Story" to a giant astronaut to the American flag.
Visitors were also treated to a flyover by a Coast Guard helicopter, cannon fire from the tall ship Californian and high school marching bands from Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin.
The morning started with the Amtrak Big Bay Family Festival and Bumble Bee Foods 5K run downtown. The annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, where eight of the fastest dachshunds from across the West race on a 56-foot track, was won by "Penny Lane" of Los Alamitos, whose owner collected $1,000.
The opening kickoff for the football game between California and Texas is set for 5:06 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium, with expected attendance of as many as 60,000 fans. Attendees are encouraged to carpool or take public transit to the game, and to arrive at least two hours before the opening kickoff.
Bowl officials expect the stadium's 14,000-vehicle parking lot to be filled one to two hours before the game. Alternate parking sites include San Diego State University, the Mission City Corporate Center, the Marriott Mission Valley hotel and the Town and County Hotel.
Special enhanced Green Line service began at 8:10 a.m. from Old Town, operating between the Convention Center area and Santee and through Old Town, Mission Valley and Qualcomm Stadium. Trains depart every 15 minutes until at least one hour after the game.
Blue Line trains will continue past their terminus at Old Town beginning at 11:25 a.m. and operate through to Qualcomm Stadium, providing service from South Bay communities, along with downtown hotels. Blue Line trains will depart every 15 minutes from the South Bay and downtown.
Fans going to the game are urged to board trolleys headed for the stadium before 2 p.m.
The Holiday Bowl sold out each year from 2003-2007, but since then has only sold out in 2009.
The drop in ticket sales results from the Holiday Bowl now getting lower selections of Pacific-12 and Big 12 conference teams and the long-running economic doldrums, according to Bruce Binkowski, the game's executive director.
"Match-up is critical, but so is the availability of money for people to spend," Binkowski said.
Each school received about 11,000 tickets to sell. California fans bought up nearly all of theirs, but Texas backers only purchased around half, he said. The rest will be donated to the Marine Corps, Navy, YMCA and Star/PAL, Binkowski said.
Both teams are 7-5. The Bears won three of their last four games while the Longhorns lost three of their last four.
The teams have one common opponent, UCLA. Texas defeated the Bruins, 49-20, while California lost to UCLA, 31-14.
A man who was hitting red light cameras in Encinitas with a baseball bat Saturday attacked a San Diego County sheriff's deputy who tried to stop him, authorities said.
A 30-year-old man riding a scooter in the Gaslamp community of San Diego suffered a "brain bleed" when he rode through a red light and broadsided a Toyota Prius that had the green light, entering into the intersection, a police officer said Sunday.
Another weak storm system will sweep to the north of San Diego county on Monday. Expect a slight chance of light rain, favoring west of the mountains, by Monday night.
Cyclists, lawmakers and community members in the north county came together on Saturday in an effort to make their streets safer.
Thieves broke into a Mountain View family’s home and took their car, Christmas presents, family documents and money – all while the father fights stage four testicular cancer and his wife is eight months pregnant.
The countdown to Christmas is on and for Pacific Beach residents it was looking like it would be Christmas without their beloved tree.
California's secretary of state called Friday for new leadership at the state's embattled Department of Motor Vehicles after revelations of an error that could have prevented nearly 600 people from voting last month.
The city of San Diego will close Children's Pool beach on Saturday in preparation for harbor seal pupping season, city officials announced.