By Miriam Raftery
June 8, 2023 (San Diego's East County) -- A Renaissance experience, the Mt. Helix Food and Wine festival, a Taste of San Diego East, a Team on a Trek challenge, concerts, comedy, the musical Grease onstage, 4tth of July celebrations and fireworks are all coming up in San Diego’s East County this summer.
Scroll down for full details on these and more festive events coming up.
RENAISSANCE EXPERIENCE JUNE 17 IN SANTEE
Harken back in time to the 16th century to experience the Renaissance on Saturday, June 17 in Santee. Come as you are, or dress to experience the life of a noble, knight or peasant.
You can try your hand at archery, watch fighting tournaments all day long, learn a craft, learn a dance, listen to a bardic recital, or experience a battle of the bards. Enjoy fun for the entire family – and admission is free.
The festivities run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 10121 Riverwalk Drive in Santee. This is the first of what is expected to become an annual event in Santee, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Santee as the club celebrates its 50th anniversary.
SANTEE SUMMER CONCERTS JUNE 15-AUGUST 17
Santee officials say it’s music to their ears – with the start of the city’s Summer Concerts taking stage on June 15th and running through August 17th.
The concerts are held at Town Center Community Park East on Thursday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (except for July 6th).
SOUNDS OF SUMMER JUNE 17 IN LA MESA
The California Note Catchers, a women's four-part harmony chorus, will be presenting "Sounds of Summer" on Saturday, June 17, at 2 p.m. The concert will be held at the La Mesa First United Methodist Church, 4690 Palm Ave., La Mesa.
The chorus will be singing classic and traditional songs. Also featured will be community guest ensembles. For more information, visit www.californianotecatchers.com.
TOURS OF JAMES HUBBELL HOMES IN SANTA YSABEL FIRST TWO WEEKENDS IN JUNE
Immerse yourself in the enchanting and fantastical world of renowned artist and architect James Hubbell, founder of the Ilan-Lael Foundation(link is external) at the 2023 Spring Tours. The world-famous compound will open its doors to visitors every Monday, Friday, and Saturday until June 17 with tours running at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Located in the stunning hills of Santa Ysabel, California, Ilan-Lael offers a unique and captivating experience for art and nature enthusiasts alike. Built “from the earth up” as living and working spaces for himself and his family, Hubbell spent over two decades creating the awe-inspiring structures. Despite losing four of the Ilan-Lael buildings in the 2003 Cedar Fire, Hubbell, his family, and team came back stronger and rebuilt with the help of the community. Their Spring Tours provide a rare opportunity to explore this extraordinary space, where Hubbell’s vision can be seen and felt.
During the Spring Tours, you will gain insights into James Hubbell's artistic process and his dedication to sustainable design. Discover the foundation's commitment to promoting art, nature, and community engagement through its various programs and initiatives including The Watershed Explorers program, student tours and workshops, and incorporating the work of James Hubbell into college art and architecture curriculums.
Whether you are an art aficionado, architecture enthusiast, or simply seeking inspiration in a serene setting, Ilan-Lael's Spring Tours offer an unforgettable experience. Don't miss the chance to witness the magic of James Hubbell's creations up close. Tours are limited to small groups and last approximately 90 minutes.
To book your tour and learn more about Ilan-Lael and the Ilan-Lael Foundation, visit their website at ilanlaelfoundation.org. Embark on a journey through art and nature at Ilan-Lael.
ART IN THE PARK JUNE 17 IN LA MESA
You’re invited to enjoy Art in the Park, an evening with appetizers, drinks and entertainment starting at 4 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Garden at MacArthur Park. Socialize while viewing and bidding on artwork for sale from local artists.
Ticket sales help support La Mesa's parks and cost $35 per person. This is a 21+ event.
For more information about the art competition, see the La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundation’s event page.
LAUREL AND HARDY COMEDY JUNE 17
Saps at Sea, the San Diego chapter of the Sons of the Desert, the Laurel & Hardy appreciation society, will present their June meeting "Stan & Ollie in Cop Troubles" on June 17 at Trinity Presbytarian Church in Spring Valley.
This month's guest cartoon is Droopy Dog in Northwest Hounded Police, followed by two guest comedians: Buster Keaton in The Goat and Joe McDoakes in So You Think You're Not Guilty.
After intermission, the Saps will screen Laurel & Hardy's first feature, Pardon Us. as well as the short film The Hoose-Gow.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7. For more information, visit the Saps at Sea Facebook page.
TASTE OF SAN DIEGO EAST ON JUNE 26
The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s 14th annual popular “foodie” event, Taste of San Diego East, is set for Monday, June 26 from 4:30 to p.m. at the newly renovated Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley. The popularity and crowd of this annual event has outgrown the La Mesa Community Center, where it was held for the first 10 years.
Guests are invited to taste, savor mingle in the ballroom and visit with business There will be food samples, prizes, a silent auction and raffles. For tickets and reservations, visit lamesachamber.net/taste.
LEMON GROVE CONCERTS IN THE PARK JUNE 29-AUGUST10
The City of Lemon Grove invites you to Concerts in the Park each Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Berry Street Park (7071 Mt.Vernon St., Lemon Grove). The concerts run from June 29 through August 10.
Bring a blanket or lawn chair along with your own picnic or barbecue.
Alcohol is prohibited and the park is smoke-free. Pets must be on a leash.
GREASE ONSTAGE IN LA MESA JUNE 30-JULY 9
Visionary Youth Theatre presents Grease: School Version at the Visionary Performance Space (8674 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa) on June 30 – July 9.
The hit musical with a hip-shaking, rock ‘n’ roll score celebrates Rydell High’s class of 1959 in all their duck-tailed, bobby-socked, gum-snapping glory. The fun-loving spirit and immortal songs make Grease a favorite among rock ‘n’ roll fans of all ages.
For tickets, you can visit https://visionarydancetheatre.org/2023
MT. HELIX FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL AUGUST 19
You’re invited to don your cowboy boots and wrangle up the gang for the Mt. Helix Food and Wine Festival on the evening of August 19th.
This year’s event features a Wild West theme, food and wine tasting from local restaurants and beverage companies, as well as artists, live and silent auctions, live music, sunset views from atop Mt. Helix. and dancing under the stars.
For tickets, visit .mthelixpark.org/.
TEAM ON A TREK JULY 28 AT GROSSMONT CENTER
You’re invited to bring friends, form a team with a creative name and vie for prizes in fun challenges at stations across Grossmont Center in La Mesa on Friday, July 28th from 4 to 7 p.m.
It’s all part of “Team on a Trek,” an event to raise funds for the nonprofit San Diego Oasis Learning & Wellness Centers. The fun will also include music, entertainment and awards.
Think of it as an Amazing Race type of event, but for all ages and levels.
Teams are encouraged to show some spirit and “get silly,” organizers say There will be awards such as best costume/dress, best team name, and most spirited. Multi-generational teams are organized.
There is a fee for teams to enter. You can register for the Team on a Trek event at the San Diego Oasis website, which is San-Diego.OasisNet.org
SANTEE SALUTES JULY 4
The city of Santee will host its annual Santee Salutes celebration on Tuesday, July 4th from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Santee Town Center Community Park East (550 Park Center Drive, Santee)
You’re invited to celebrate our nation’s 247th birthday with fireworks at 9 p.m. that will also feature a soundtrack playing live on SanteeTV.
There will also be live bands, patriotic presentations, food trucks, and more.
Parking is limited, so carpooling and public transit are encouraged, or you can buy a parking permit at cityofsanteeca.gov.
EL CAJON FIREWORKS JULY 4
El Cajon will host its annual Independence Day celebration with fireworks in Kennedy Park (1675 East Madison Ave., El Cajon) on July 4th.
Arrive early and bring a blanket, lawn chairs and a picnic dinner. The family funs includes train rides from 2 to 7 p.m., arts and crafts plus family games from 3 to 7 p.m., live bands from 3 to 9 p.m. and of course, fireworks at 9 p.m.
For more information on the El Cajon 4th July Celebration you can go to elcajon.gov
POWAY OLD FASHIONED FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION
An Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration will be held at Poway’s Midland Park (14123 Midland Road, Poway) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 4th.
Celebrate our country's independence as it was done a century ago. This event will feature patriotic entertainment, free children's crafts, train displays, and old-fashioned games. Tasty treats and train rides will be available for a nominal fee.