DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS DEC. 31-JAN. 20

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By Miriam Raftery

December 27, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes New Year’s celebrations in Alpine and Jamul, New Year's Day at an Alpaca Farm, plus an art show at the Wieghorst Gallery in El Cajon.

Plus, we’ll have coming attractions including Hawk Watch in the Ramona Grasslands, falconry demonstrations at Wynola Pizza, a Star Party at Mission Trails, Sinatra and Friends in Borrego Springs, Carnaval Fantastique at Sycuan, full moon fishing at Lake Jennings, an ancient Tibetan music concert at Mission Trails, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa, pianist John Nilsen in concert in Descanso, and a fingerstyle guitar concert at San Pasqual Winery’s La Mesa tasting room.

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

RING IN THE NEW YEAR AT VIEJAS

East County’s biggest New Year’s festivities happening at the Viejas Resort and Casino. On New Year’s Eve, December 31st, you’re invited to ring in the new year at one of two celebrations.

An outdoor bash in the park from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. features a ball drop and fireworks at midnight, live entertainment by Rising Star, multiple bars and food offerings for purchase.

Or opt for an elegant, upscale evening in the Oak Ballroom starting at 8 p.m. with live music, dancing, gourmet dining until 10 p.m., drinks and the signature ball drop at midnight. For tickets and details on these New Year’s celebrations, visit Viejas.com and click on the “entertainment” tab.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO IN JAMUL CELEBRATES NEW YEAR’S EVE

Hollywood Casino in Jamul is hosting several New Year’s Eve activities. You can “party like a rock star” at the Loft 94 beer garden or in the Jive Lounge, where live entertainment by Funks Most Wanted and Pop Vinyl will be provided. Or you can opt for an upscale New Year’s Eve dinner at the Final Cut Steakhouse. For reservations and details, you can visit  hollywoodcasinojamul.com/nye2018.

NEW YEAR'S DAY AT LA DOLCE VITA ALPACAS IN RAMONA

La Dolce Vita Alpacas invites you to spend New Year’s Day at their 10-acre ranch in Ramona, which will host an open house on Monday, January 1st from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Learn about alpacas and their history, pet or feed cuddly alpacas, watch a wool spinning demonstration, and have an opportunity to purchase alpaca yarn and products made from alpaca wool.  Admission is $10 per person (no charge for carried infants)

This event is subject to cancellation due to foul weather (heavy rain, extreme winds, fires, etc.).  This is a working farm with uneven terrain, dirt, loose rocks, and two friendly dogs so guests are advised to dress appropriately. The ranch is located at 24901 Bareta Star Rancho Road, Ramona, CA 92065.

For more information visit www.LDVAlpacas.com.

WIEGHORST MUSEUM ART SHOW

The Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon is offering a very special art exhibit and sale featuring local artists now through Thursday, January 4th. Works will be displayed by these talented artists: Gloria Chadwick, Grace Schlesier, Fred Gregory, Val Carson, Ron Dotson, and Peggy Bradshaw Palm. 

For more information, you can visit www.wieghorstmuseum.org

NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

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.

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

“Where are we 50 years later?”  a celebration commemmorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honoring civil rights leaders will be held on January 19 at the Lemon Grove Community Church “the Lagoon”, 3122 Main Street in Lemon Grove.  Doors open at 6 p.m. with a 7 p.m. start.  

The event will feature guest speaker Jane Elliott, an anti-racism activist who will discuss her historic brown eyes-blue eyes exercise. Local civil rights honorees will include BAPAC State President Dr. William Blair, Dr. Cheryl Morrow of the San Diego Monitor newspaper, Alan Cabrera of Ideas Cabrera, and Raymond Wiley, a 67-year-old African-American man who has contended he was racially profiled by a San Diego police officer in 2017.

For tickets ($15) visit http://www.nansd.net/janeelliottevent

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.

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.

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!

Comments

I heard that the biggest #NYE2017 destination was Viejas frm ECM

I missed the Ball Drop but I got footage of the countdown , the Red Cross and I went together 12/31 but couldn't get outdoors so we filmed the same stage at which I performed on 12/24 with Kaleidoscope Carolers Lots of interest in the Tibetan music at Mission Trails Regional Park 1/7 Watch the #NYEPST countdown on Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v_86C7xcSK0