By Miriam Raftery
Sept. 1, 2008 (East County)--We first planned to call this column Festival of the Month. But after discovering how many great events communities and groups are hosting in San Diego’s eastern region we changed the column name to tell you about as many fun-filled festivals as possible.
Many are free, though some charge admission. Check out details on these and many other activities at our calendar of events.
Here are a few of our favorites:
September 1st is the last day in 2008 to enjoy Park at Dark sunset and night-time live entertainment and “Journey into Africa Tours” at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in San Pasqual.
Enjoy a blast to the past at the Cajon Classic Car Show September 3 and 10, featuring antique cars and specialty vehicles, sidewalk vendors, free raffles, and entertainment including classic tunes by Dr. DJ and All Around Mobile.
On September 5, El Cajon’s First Friday offers activities, entertainment and discounts at local downtown merchants.
The Sycuan Traditional Gathering and Pow-Wow September 5-7 attracts tribal members from across North America with Native American dancing and drumming competitions. Native American crafts, vendors and food are also available at this three-day event, which is free to the public.
Saturday, September 6th is jam-packed with festivities for the whole family! The Julian Grape Stomp Fest offers wine-tasting, food, crafts and an option to doff shoes and stomp fruits of the harvest with other visitors. While in the mountains, visit the Cleveland National Forest Centennial Celebration featuring the Fiddlin’ Forresters at Dos Picos Park in Ramona. Escondido has a Parade and Grape Stomp with crafts and a petting zoo. Or take a historic train ride departing from the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo. Escondido also offers a Grape Day Festival and Parade. Later on, grab some popcorn and snuggle up for Lemon Grove’s Movie Night in the Park, or dance the night away at El Cajon’s free Concert on the Green.
Okay, it’s not a festival, but we can’t resist Stargazing at Mission Trails Regional Park on September 10th. Telescopes are provided for astronomy enthusiasts from dusk to 10 p.m. Note: This easily-accessible park offers many other activities such as nature walks and bird watching.
On Thursday, September 11th, stroll the AlleyCat Art Walk in El Cajon to enjoy displays by local artists and artisans. Or savor a Winemaker Dinner on September 12th at the Rancho Bernardo Winery.
Yeehaw! The Golden State Rodeo in Lakeside will be held on September 12-13. The Poway Community Parade and Festival Escondido take place September 13th. You can also enjoy three days of outdoor music by more than 30 bands plus DJs, food, wine-tasting and camping at Ranchita Rocks Concerts, a three-day backcountry event September 12-13 to benefit Defeat Sunrise PowerLink. On September 14th, check out the Carmel Mountain Ranch Fall Festival, or enjoy the Celtic Spring Band at the Escondido Performing Arts Center.
The Lemon Grove Jazz, Wine and Art event on September 15th costs $35 in advance or $45 at the door. The YMCA in La Mesa hosts a Meet the Pharmacist and Senior Fair on September 18th. On the same date, Escondido hosts the Rods & Woodies Classic Car Show.
Watch historical reenactments by costumed participants at Living History Week on Mt. Laguna September 20-21,part of the U.S. Forest Service Centennial Celebration. While in the mountains, savor some toe-tapping music at the Julian Bluegrass Festival September 20-21. Try your luck at the Poway BBQ Casino Night September 10th or saddle up for the Rodeo Trail Ride in Poway on September 11th.
The Poway Rodeo September 27-28 includes a Dance on Friday, September 26th. Or take a historic Twilight Train Trip to Tecate, Mexico from the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo. Farm Education Day and Opening Day of the Pumpkin Patch at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center on September 27th includes a straw maze, tractor hayride, and farm zoo plus 4H instruction in raising livestock, wool spinning, bee keeping, and organic farming. Other events on the 27th include Wild West BonitaFest and Reader’s Theater in Borrego, a desert community.
For an exotic afternoon, reserve space to attend Between the Stripes, a fundraiser and silent auction benefit held at Lions, Tigers & Bears Ranch in Alpine, a big cats rescue haven.