Labor Day weekend activities in San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- Events featuring sand, sails and classical music are scheduled to get underway Friday along San Diego's downtown waterfront for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

At 9 a.m., the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge will open to the public at the B Street Pier. Sculptors from as far away as Italy, Latvia and Singapore have been privately sharing 300 tons of sand since Wednesday to work up their creations, which will be revealed to the public for the first time today. Organizers estimate they'll be half-done by the time the gates open, and they have until Saturday at 2 p.m. to finish for judging.

Award ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The event will also offer live entertainment, refreshments and children's activities.

There are a variety of ticket options, both online and at the gate. More information is available at www.ussandsculpting.com.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego will begin its annual Festival of Sail at 1:30 p.m. with a parade of tall ships in San Diego Bay.

The vessels will be led by a full-scale replica of the San Salvador, the boat on which explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to enter the bay.

“The new San Salvador is a faithful, seaworthy recreation of explorer Juan Cabrillo's flagship galleon,'' said Dr. Ray Ashley, museum president and CEO. “She is the result of 20 years of planning and five years of construction by skilled shipwrights and dedicated volunteers.''

The parade will be visible from Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Embarcadero, according to the museum.

Throughout the weekend, the San Salvador and other boats will be open for tours at the museum, 1492 N. Harbor Drive. Tickets for Saturday-Monday activities cost $7 for adults, and $5 for youth 3-12, seniors 62 and older, and military with identification.

The music will come from the San Diego Symphony, which will close its Bayside Summer Nights series with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, accompanied by cannon booms and fireworks. The program at Embarcadero Marina Park South begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday night through Sunday.

Labor Day Weekend Travel

The most popular destinations for Southern Californians traveling this Labor Day weekend will be San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Yosemite and Santa Catalina Island, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The list was drawn from an AAA survey of its travel agents. But other Labor Day figures previously provided by the Auto Club -- including a projected number of travelers and a breakdown between air and road travel -- are no longer available. The national organization and its member clubs decided the holiday does not command as much interest as others.