DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS NOV. 27-DEC. 12

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By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2015 (San Diego's East County) --This week’s Destination East County includes a tree-lighting ceremony and ice skating in downtown El Cajon, Pomegranate Days at a camel dairy, and a holiday music festival.

Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions including a Chaldean Christmas party to benefit local refugees in need,  the Jingle Paws Walk helping shelter pets, sleigh rides and a tree-lighting in Ramona’s Old Town, a holiday party with lions, tigers and bears, Santee at Santee Lakes, and several musical productions. So scroll down for all of these events and more.

THIS WEEK'S MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

POMEGRANATE DAYS AT THE OASIS CAMEL DAIRY NOV. 27-29

One of East County’s most unique holiday traditions is Pomegranate Days at the Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona.  This year, Pomegranate Days will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving, November 27th through 29th.

You can feed pomegranates to camels, enjoy camel rides for kids ages 3-14, watch a turkey stampede and a tropical bird show, and new this year,  see dazzling circus performers as the high-flying McCandles family brings their aerial show to the site.  You can also buy holiday gift items such as Camel Milk Bath Bombs. There is an admission charge for this event.  For details and directions, visit  http://www.cameldairy.com

EL CAJON TREE LIGHTING AND ICE SKATING NOV. 28

El Cajon’s first-ever Holiday Lights on Main celebration will be held November 28th.  Festivities take place at Prescott Promenade Park and in downtown El Cajon from 2 to 7 p.m..

This special event features a Santa’s village complete with Santa Claus and an elf making an appearance just in time for Christmas! There will also be an ice skating rink, craft and food vendors, a train ride, community acts, plus live music featuring Danielle .

A special Christmas tree lighting at 6:00 p.m. at Main St. and Magnolia Ave. will coincide with all the lights throughout downtown and Prescott Promenade Park being turned on to brighten the holidays for everyone.

Downtown Business Partners invites you to come join the free celebrations and have some fun with family and friends. Mingle with the folks of East County and see the spirit of Christmas come alive!

For more information visit www.downtownelcajon.com .

HOLIDAY MUSIC FESTIVAL AT PARKWAY PLAZA NOV. 28-DEC. 23

Parkway Plaza will host a Holiday Music Festival that’s free for the community from Saturday, November 28th through Wednesday, December 23.  The Tinseltones will open the concert series on the Macy’s Stage November 28th . 

After that, concerts will continue each Saturday until Christmas from 1 to 5 p.m. with performances by the Southwestern College Big Band and Jazz Improvisation Ensemble December 5th, the Fiddle Cats on December 12th and the Salvation Army Brass Band December 19th.

Additional musical performances on saxophone and violin will be staged Christmas week at a stage by the Carousel inside the mall. For details you can visit ShoppingParkwayPlaza.com.

ICE RINK AT VIEJAS

Southern California’s largest outdoor ice rink is open for the holiday season at the Viejas Outlets center in Alpine, where you can feel the cool mountain air as you bunny hop, spin and swizzle your way around the rink.  The rink is open now, continuing through January 20th. The outlet center, located across the street from Viejas Casino, also has a water show and season entertainment.  For more information you can visit http://viejas.com/ice-rink.  

 NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

CHALDEAN CHRISTMAS GALA DEC. 4

t. Michael’s Chaldean Catholic Church will host its first annual “Gift of Giving Christmas Gala” on Friday, December 4 at 8 p.m.  The 21+ wine and cheese gala will feature a silent auction, raffle items, a selection of wines from local wineries, craft beers and donated foods.

“All proceeds from the event will go towards assisting members of our community, the majority of it being the Chaldean Catholic and Assyrian refugees who lack basic necessities such as mattresses,” said Jennifer Meram. “We hope that this event will help better support the youth refugee programs and provide them with better opportunities to grow and learn upon first arriving in this country.”  

The event will be held in the church hall at St. Michael’s Chaldean Catholic Church, 799 East Washington Ave., El Cajon, CA 92020.  Admission is $20 in advance or $30 at the door.

Contact Chaldeanevents@gmail.com for tickets.

(For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/678698685600273/)

TREE LIGHTING AND SLEIGH RIDES IN RAMONA OLD TOWN DEC. 5

The Ramona Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Christmas tree lighting event on December 5th from 5-8 p.m. in Old Town Ramona. The event features sleigh rides, carolers, Santa’s Village, performers and Santa Claus.

The tree-lighting will be at the Guy B. Woodward Museum (645 Main St..),  which includes a collection of historical buildings form Ramona's western past. The Holiday Craft Village with Santa will be in Ramona’s Town Hall.  Around town, watch for other activities and shops competing for the best-dressed window contest. There’s also a “find the elf” contest at local shops with a grand prize of a shopping spree through Ramona stores.

JINGLE PAWS WALK FOR PETS DEC. 5

Bring your dogs to join in the fun at Jingle Paws, a holiday walk to benefit pets at the El Cajon Animal Shelter, will be held December 5th at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College.  The walk is organized by ACES, an organization that funds surgeries for shelter pets and helps meet other needs.

The event also features photos with Santa, a pet/owner costume contest, doggie vendors, animal rescue groups, silent auction, raffles and prizes, as well as music by Jumpin’ Jack Flash and more. Registration is from 8-9 a.m. followed by warm-up with Leash Your Fitness at 9:15 a.m. and a fun walk or 1K/5K route from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. There is a registration fee. For more information visit www.AcesFoundation.org.

(To register visit  https://www.crowdrise.com/JINGLEPAWSWALKFORPETS2015)

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL DEC. 5

Lions, Tigers and Bears invites you to a Christmas Festival on  Saturday, December 5th from 1 to 4 p.m.  You can watch the animals open their Christmas presents –and get holiday shopping all in one day at the exotic animal rescue facility east of Alpine. There will be also be many local vendors, food, entertainment and a special appearance by Santa Claus! For details on admission, tickets and more, you can visit www.LionsTigers.org.

KRACKED NUTZ DEC. 3-5

This holiday season, Visionary School for the Performing Arts presents “Kracked Nutz”, a holiday musical revueat the Visionary Performance Space (7202 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego) on December 3rd-5th at 7 p.m. directed by the VSPA teaching artists.

This fun, holiday musical revue showcases some traditional and some not-so-traditional holiday music featuring the diverse and talented members of Visionary Youth Theatre and Kidz Danz Kompany.  For tickets and details, visit http://visionarydancetheatre.org/Visionary/kracked-nutz/

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS DEC. 4-19 IN SANTEE

Join Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang as they come to life in A Charlie Brown Christmas December 4-19. Pickwick Players presents this holiday classic on the Off Broadway Live stage  at 9490 Cuyamaca Street in Santee  as the characters look for the true meaning of Christmas.

Guests are also encourage to bring a donation to benefit  the Santee Chapter of Project Linus, a non-profit organization that provides homemade blankets to children in need.

The musical production runs December 4th through 19th, with a special matinee show for children with special needs on December 5th at 2 p.m.

For tickets and details visit www.pickwickplayers.net.

SANTA AT SANTEE LAKES DEC. 6

Ho, ho ho! Santee is coming to Santee Lakes on Sunday, December 6th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   This event will also feature snow!  In addition you can enjoy sledding, carnival rides, boat rides, inflatable jumps, arts and crafts, food and s’mores.  Admission is free, though there is a small fee for ride tickets and parking.  For directions and details, visit www.SanteeLakes.com

JOYOUS MUSIC FOR THE SEASON DEC. 6

You are invited to attend the San Diego Festival Concert “Joyous Music for the Season” on December 6th  at 3 p.m. in the College Avenue Baptist Church in San Diego.  The program includes Felix Mendelssohn's majestic, "Hymn of Praise" and other seasonal choral music helpingto set the stage for your holiday celebrations.  For tickets visit www.SanDiegoFestivalChorus.org.

"CHRISTMAS IN ALPINE” HOME TOUR, DEC. 12

The Alpine Woman’s Club will hold its Eleventh Annual “Christmas in Alpine” Home Tour on December 12th. You will have an opportunity to stroll through five stunning country estates, and visit Alpine’s beautiful Country Garden Shop. The Historic Town Hall will be open from 1 p.m. on for ticket holders to enjoy light refreshments and to pick up a surprise gift. 



You can get your tickets early at the Postal Annex 2710 Alpine Blvd. Tickets are available for pick up and purchase at the Alpine Woman’s Club 2156 Alpine Blvd. on Saturday Dec 12th starting at 9:30am. 



Proceeds benefit the Alpine Woman’s Club Scholarship Fund and the maintenance of the Historic Town Hall which was built in 1899. For more information, contact Karin at her at karinshouse64@yahoo.com.

 That’s all for this week! You can find details on all of these events and more on our Calendar and in our Festivals and Events section online at eastcountymagazine.org.

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.