DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JAN. 6 - MARCH 4

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By Miriam Raftery

January 2, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes hawk watch in Ramona, falconry demonstrations in Wynola, a star party and ancient Tibetan music at Mission Trails, Sinatra and friends in Borrego Springs and Carnaval Fantastique at Sycuan.

Plus, we’ll have coming attractions including a pianist John Nilsen in Descanso, llore of the Kumeyaay at the Water Conservation Garden, full moon fishing at Lake Jennings, the Mousetrap at Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa,  Martin Luther King Day events in Lemon Grove, live music at the San Pasqual Winery and Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa, a local authors expo in El Cajon, the Oak Ridge Boys in concert at Sycuan, San Diego Chamber Music Society performers at the La Mesa Library, a star party at Mission Trails, and Seussical the Musical in Spring Valley.

So stay tuned for all of these events and many more!

HAWK WATCH AT RAMONA GRASSLANDS EACH SATURDAY IN JAN. AND FEB.

The Wildlife Research Institute invites you to Hawk Watch. Each Saturday in January and February at 10 a.m., visitors can see birds of prey such as hawks, eagles and owls. Sponsored by the Wildlife Research Institute, this year Hawk Watch will not be held at the Institute’s headquarters, but instead at Begent Ranch (18528 Highland Valley Road), a private ranch open only for the Hawk Watch events.

Guests are advised to arrive a half hour early for parking, bring binoculars, and enjoy coffee and doughnuts before viewing the raptors that make their homes in the Ramona Grasslands. For more information, you can visit http://www.wildlife-research.org/.

FALCONRY DEMONSTRATIONS AT WYNOLA PIZZA EACH SATURDAY IN JANUARY

Master falconer Cisco Clibourne will present a falconry demonstration at Wynola Pizza each Saturday in January from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wynola Pizza is located at 4355 California 78 in Santa Ysabel, just outside of Julian.

Guests will see interactive flights and educational demonstrations with hawks and falcons. You can watch Pancho the Peregrine Falcon swoop from the sky to a lure, observe other falcons fly to a drone used to train them to reach elevated heights, and experience interactive flights with two Harris hawks who fly to the fist of a falconry glove. You can also take up close and personal photos with the raptors.

STAR PARTY AT MISSION TRAILS JAN. 6

Mission Trails Regional Park invites you to a star party on Saturday, January 6th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The park’s trail guide and amateur astronomer George Varga will be at the far end of the Kumeyaay Lake Campground’s day use parking lot with a telescope available for viewing the nighttime sky.

Viewing at this event will include the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters constellation, the Double Cluster in Perseus, the Andromeda Galaxy and more.

Please do not bring lanterns or white-light flashlights that could interview with viewing these heavenly sites. This event will be cancelled if it is raining or cloud.  For more information, you can visit Mission Trails Regional Park’s website at MTRP.org.

SINATRA AND FRIENDS JAN. 6

Sinatra and Friends pays tribute to the man and his music featuring countless songs, synonymous with Frank Sinatra, as well as many other memorable favorites people have come to love.

The performance will be staged at the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center on Saturday, January 6th with performances at 7:30 and 9 p.m.

For tickets, visit bspac.us.

ANCIENT TIBETAN MUSIC CONCERT JAN. 7

Diane Mandle will perform a concert on ancient Tibetan bowls, gongs and percussions at Mission Trails Regional Park’s visitor center theatre on Sunday, January 7th at 3 p.m.  This sound immersion experience aims to sooth, inspire and awaken your spirit.  For details, you can visit MTRP.org.

CARNAVAL FANTASTIQUE:  JAN. 7 AT SYCUAN

Carnaval Fantastique will bring performers from around the world to Sycuan on January 7th in a celebration of music and action that combines gravity-defying acrobatics, contortionists, jugglers, comedy, beautiful dancers and dynamic laser special effects.

Atmospheric laser beams fill the theater as colorful animated laser graphics on the screen center stage introduce each of the performances. The finale highlights a one of a kind laser Salute to America patriotic performance.

You’re invited to “Come one, Come all, it's Carnaval.”  For tickets, you can visit Sycuan.com.

NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

PAINT AND PALETTE JAN. 10 AT SAN PASQUAL WINERY IN LA MESA

You’re invited to find your inner Picasso as you take a painting lesson with a local artist and sip wine at San Pasqual Winery’s Tasting Room in La Mesa on January 10th from 6 to 9 p.m. Each student will complete a painting to display at home.  There is a fee ($35) that includes all supplies needed. For details, visit www.SanPasqualWinery.com.

PIANIST JOHN NILSEN IN DESCANSO JANUARY 13

Acclaimed pianist, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter John Nilsen will perform a solo piano concert on Saturday, January 13th at 2 p.m. at Chapel of the Hills Community Church, 25153 Viejas Blvd. in Descanso. The church will provide light refreshments, a chance to chat with the artist, and his musical CDs will be available.

Nilsen is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most successful performance and recording artists, with records that have sold over a million copies. His love of the outdoors is reflected in many of his works. Chosen a Deering Banjo artist in 2016, he has performed in all 50 states and many foreign countries. 

Three of his CDs charted nationally. His newest release, Local Ocean, features SWIMFISH. The late Dan Peek, founding member of the rock band America, wrote of SWIMFISH, “The music is superb, the lyrics inspired and the production/arranging is top notch. The songwriting hangs together well and the tracks flow, carving out a groove as naturally as a river carves a canyon.”

For more info on John Nilsen and his work, see www.johnnilsen.com and/or www.magicwing.com. The church's website is www.chapelofthehills.org.

LORE OF THE KUMEYAAY JANUARY 13

The Water Conservation Garden will present “The Lore of the Kumeyaay” on January 13th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

You can learn about the Native Americans who have inhabited San Diego County for over 10,000 years. Jan Tubiolo, long-time student of Kumeyaay culture, will teach about the history, spirituality, and daily lifestyle of the Kumeyaay, displaying tools and other items that were important to their lives.  Students should bring a cushion or blanket to sit on, and in case of rain, the program will be moved indoors.

For more information, you can visit TheGarden.org.

FULL MOON FISHING AT LAKE JENNINGS JANUARY 13

You’re invited to fish by the light of a full moon on Saturday, January 13th from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Lake Jennings in Lakeside.

The lake is stocked with trout, bass, bluegill and sunfish.  For more information, you can visit www.LakeJennings.org

THE MOUSETRAP AT LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE JAN. 13-FEB. 4

Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa will present Agatha Christie’s classic mystery, The Mousetrap from January 13th through February 4th.

A terrible snowstorm traps a group of strangers in a quaint boarding house. To everyone's horror, it soon becomes clear that a murderer is hiding among them. This thrilling whodunit by Agatha Christie, author of so many classic English murder mysteries, is known for its unpredictable ending ... Can you pinpoint the murderer before the characters do?

The original production of The Mousetrap on London's West End has now been running continuously for 61 years, during which period it's been performed more than 25,000 times, making it the most popular whodunit of all time and the longest-running show of any type in the modern era

For tickets and details, visit www.LamplightersLaMesa.com.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. EVENT JAN. 19 IN LEMON GROVE

A celebration commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honoring local civil rights leaders will be held on January 19th at 7 p.m. at the Lemon Grove Community Church in Lemon Grove. 

For tickets and information on the honorees, visit NANSD.net.

JIM EARP FINGERSTYLE GUITARIST JAN. 20 IN LA MESA

Fingerstyle guitarist Jim Earp will perform at the San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room in La Mesa Village on January 20th from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. He’ll be playing original music in a style that blends Hawaiian slack key with Celtic guitar, also singing popular folk rock favorites such as songs by Neil Young and James Taylor.

Wine, cheese and dessert are available for purchase in the winery’s cozy back room. For more information, visit www.SanPasqualWinery.com.

SANTEE 50 KM RACE AND ACTIVE LIFESTYLE EXPO JAN. 20

The City of Santee will host a national 50 kilometer race walk championship on Jan. 20 in conjunction with the Santee Active Lifestyle Expo aimed at promoting health and fitness.

The Expo will be held at the Trolley Square Shopping Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with activities for kids and adults. Before the expo, spectators can watch the USA Track and Field National Championship race walk competition withOlympic-caliber athletes walking faster than most people can run.

The race will take place on Town Center Parkway and Riverview Drive from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The winner of the 50 kilometer race walk – that’s over 31 miles-- will receive an $8,000 prize.

At the expo, breakfast sandwiches and acai bowls will be given out while supplies last. A Kids’ Fit Fun Zone will feature a climbing wall, obstacle course and giant fitness board game. BMX professionals will fly through the air on a half-pipe ramp. In addition, nearly 50 vendor booths will have samples, info, health and wellness tips.

Attendees wearing fitness attire and athletic shoes can try out a different fitness class every 30 minutes on the amphitheater stage. They can also run through the Extreme Fit Obstacle Course with more than 200 feet of inflatable obstacles and firefighter challenges.

More information and a list of the fitness classes can be found at CityofSantee.gov.

LOCAL AUTHOR EXPO AT EL CAJON LIBRARYJANUARY 28

The El Cajon will host its third Local Author Expo on Sunday, January 28, at 2:00 p.m. featuring presentations by three local authors and a reception afterwards where attendees may meet the authors, buy books and enjoy refreshments.

The authors featured include Wanijiru Warama, a La Mesa resident and author of Unexpected America, a memoir of her experience coming to America after growing up as the daughter of peasants on a farm in colonial Kenya.

Karri Thompson, a San Diego author of young adult fiction, also writes adult fiction under the pseudonym Kalli Lanford. 

Roger Conlee, a former reporter for the  San Diego Evening Tribune , has authored seven historical novels including his latest, Deep Water, a political thriller that takes place during the early days of the Cold War.

OAK RIDGE BOYS FEB. 3 AT SYCUAN

The Oak Ridge Boys, who were recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, will perform on Saturday, February 3rd at 5 p.m. in Sycuan’s Live and Up Close Theatre in EL Cajon. Their four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have won many awards including a Grammy, Country Music Association and American Country Music awards—and they’re still going strong after more than 40 years. For tickets, visit www.Sycuan.com.

SAN DIEGO CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY FEB. 10 IN LA MESA

Bruce and Beverly Dorcy with the San Diego Chamber Music Society will perform a concert with piano and horn at the La Mesa Library on February 10th at 1 p.m.  The La Mesa Library (8074 Allison Avenue) hosts free concerts on the second Saturday each month, thanks to support from Friends of La Mesa Library.

STAGE 4 JAZZ CONCERT FEB. 17 AT SAN PASQUAL TASTING ROOM, LA MESA

San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room (8364 La Mesa Blvd.) in La Mesa’s downtown village will host live music by Stage 4 Jazz on February 17th at 7 p.m.  Stage 4 is a dynamic group with a repertoire that spans jazz, rhythm and blues and more. Learn more about Stage 4 at http://www.stage4entertainment.com/ and visit San Pasqual Winery’s website at http://www.sanpasqualwinery.com/.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. COMMUNITY CHOIR ENSEMBLE CONCERT FEB. 17

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir of San Diego’s Ensemble will be performing gospel and inspirational songs at the Lemon Grove Library on Saturday, February 17th at 2 p.m.  The Lemon Grove Library is located at 3001 School Lane in Lemon Grove.

The ensemble’s music celebrates the history of negro spirituals, aspiring to be inspirational and uplifting.  For more information, you can visit the musical group’s website at MLKCCSD.org.

STAR PARTY AT MISSION TRAILS FEB. 17

View the Andromeda galaxy, the Orion Nebula and other celestial sights during a Star Party at Mission Trails Regional Park on Saturday, February 17th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Amateur astronomer and trail guide George Varga will have a telescope available for viewing the night sky at the far end of the Kumeyaay Lake Campground’s day use parking lot. Learn more at www.MTRP.org.

SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL FEB. 22 - MARCH 4 IN SPRING VALLEY

Young Actors Theatre will present “Seussical, the Musical” at the Encore! Theatre in the Casa de Oro area of Spring Valley (9260 Campo Rd.) from February 22 through March 4th.  This musical production brings to life your favorite Dr. Seuss characters, from the Cat in the Hat to Horton the Elephant.  For tickets, visit www.YATSanDiego.org or call (619) 670-1627.

LIVE BANDS AT RIVIERA SUPPER CLUB IN LA MESA

Riviera Supper Club (7777 University Ave.) in La Mesa has live bands onstage in the Turquoise Room most nights throughout February and March.  Upcoming Saturday night headliners include Baja Bugs, Ron and the Reapers, Gino and the Lone Gummen, Black Market 111, Swanq Bastards, Shark Jones, and Vinyl Pirates.  For a full list of entertainment, visit http://rivierasupperclub.com/.

That’s all for this week!

If you have an event you’d like added to our calendar, or if you would like to sponsor the Destination East County column on our website, or the Destination East County show on KNSJ Radio, you can contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.  Destination East County is the most-read feature on our website.

We’ll be back next week with more festivals, events and attractions in San Diego’s East County!