By Elijah McKee
July 6, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — Looking for weekend family fun with free admission? On Saturday, July 9, the inaugural Citrus Festival will take place at the Lemon Grove Recreation Center from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring food trucks, inflatables, vendors, games, contests, prizes, entertainment and more.
The idea for the event originally grew out of a community effort to raise money and support for reopening the center with funding for new programs. The free Eventbrite tickets can be secured at this link.
The festivities planned for this inaugural year include a dunk tank, a relay race with a lemon on top of your head, a pie eating contest, face painting, and more. Baskets will be raffled off with gift cards to Lemon Grove hotspots like Giardino’s, Inpasta, Tuna Sushi and Grill, GTM Discount General Stores, McDonalds, Starbucks and more.
Food vendors from local favorites have also been confirmed, including Gelu Italian Ice, Churro Addict, Hibachi King, Giant Pizza and Deli, Birria King, and Soul of Blasia. DJ MiGz will provide music, and dance group TranscenDANCE will be performing live as well.
To catch the latest updates on what the festival will feature, visit the pages on Facebook and Instagram.
Jessyka Heredia, a community member who now helps lead the team running the event, further explained its purpose in a statement given to East County Magazine.
“The Citrus Festival is an annual fundraiser event to raise money for programming and activities for youth, seniors and adults at the Recreation Center in Lemon Grove, as the Rec Center has been closed to the public for 12 years due to lack of funding by the city,” wrote Heredia.
Donations for the recreation center and sponsorships for the festival will be steered through the Neighborhood Enrichment Organization (NEO), a non-profit supporting the festival.
Yet another simple way to support the effort will be to participate in the festival’s games, contests and raffles for small fees. A limited supply of Citrus Festival key chains and coffee mugs are also available.
“All moneys will stay in the account for future and present events for the kids at the rec center,” wrote Tanya Harris in a planning group email, after she spearheaded the idea of starting an annual Citrus Festival back in March of 2022.
In addition to NEO, the Citrus Festival is supported by the Lemon Grove Improvement Council and other community partners. Yet volunteers are still needed to help run the various games, as well as for set up and clean up.
Friends or families interested in helping out can visit the volunteer booth in-person during the event. To sign up to volunteer in advance, or to become a vendor, contribute a sponsorship or make a donation, click here.