DESTINATION EAST COUNTY DECEMBER 10-21

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By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County has a wealth of winter festivities, from a Winter Wonder Jam at Cuyamaca College to La Mesa’s Victorian-style Christmas in the Village, a Chanukah celebration at Grossmont Center, a caroling party atop Mount Helix, a North Pole Limited Train ride and much more.

So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.

VIEJAS TOY DRIVE “BIG REVEAL” DEC. 10

Viejas has been working to raise 14,000 toys for the local Salvation Army’s East County Toy Drive toy drive to help families in need across our region.  Last year, Viejas collected over 12,000 toys and this year they are hoping to break that record with help from tribal members, employees and hundreds of local residents. 

On Wednesday, December 10th at 6 p.m., Viejas will host its “big reveal” at the pool outside the Viejas hotel (5000 Willows Road) in Alpine. This event is open to the public, featuring food and drinks, music and auction items to benefit the East County Toy Drive.

ANNIE TAKES STAGE DEC. 11-13 AT KROC CENTER

Kroc Kids Junior Theatre Company will present the musical Annie Junior on December 11th, 12th and 13th at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre (6611 University Ave, San Diego).  For tickets (adults $12, children 3 and up $10) visit www.KrocCenter.org.

WINTER WONDER JAM DEC. 12 AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE

Winter Wonder Jam -- Cuyamaca College’s homegrown music fest put on by students in the Music Industry Studies program featuring four local bands and musicians playing pop, rock and folk music – is set for December 12 from 7 to 10 p.m.in the performing arts theater.

The fifth annual holiday bash is an all-ages event with food, refreshments, and always eclectic performances. Admission is free with a donation of three canned goods for the San Diego Food Bank. (Or pay a $5 admission fee.)  For more information visit www.cuyamaca.edu and click on the Performing arts link.  Parking is free for this event at Cuyamaca College, located in Rancho San Diego.

HOLIDAY CONCERT IN LAKESIDE DEC. 12

The Lakeside Community Presbyterian Church will host a free concert on Friday, December 12th that is open to the community. Vivaldi’s “Gloria” will be presented by the church’s “Joyful Noise Choir” and San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts Choral Ensemble, Women’s Chorus, and Chamber Orchestra. The church is located at 9908 Channel Road in Lakeside.

NORTH POLE LIMTED TRAIN RIDE DEC. 13-20

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo invites you to ride the rails aboard its special North Pole Limited train, along with Santa and his elves.  Tickets are still available for December 13th, 19th and 20th.  The fun begins at the lighted Campo depot with fun and good cheer.  Aboard the train, Santa’s elves will serve cookies and hot chocolate, visiting with passengers as the North Pole Limited rockets toward the North Pole.

An on-board reading of a popular Christmas story leads up to the magical arrival at Santa’s Workshop, where Santa will board the train for the return trip, visiting with children aboard the train. Advance reservations are generally needed for this popular event. To reserve seats, visit the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum website at www.PSRM.org.

LA MESA CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE DEC. 12-13

On December 12th and 13th, La Mesa’s downtown village transforms into a Victorian-style winter wonderland for Christmas in the Village. The festivities run from 5 to 10 p.m. each night with a holiday parade at 5 p.m., plus a pre-parade honoring 50th anniversary Vietnam War veterans.

Christmas in the Village features strolling minstrels, carolers and street entertainers, live music on multiple sages, and bonfires filling La Mesa Boulevard.  Plus kids can free visits with Santa at the Goodwill Plaza (8250 La Mesa Blvd.) after the parade and also enjoy carnival rides,, ponies and puppet shoes. Shops and restaurants will be open late plus there will be food and vendors at the event organized by the La Mesa Village Merchants Association. Stores are decorated and illuminated for the occasion. Parking is free during the entire holiday season!

Christmas in The Village also supports the Salvation Army toy drive and the Ray & Joan Kroc Center /Angel Tree Toy Program. Visitors can bring an unwrapped toy, gift card or food donation to help local families in need. You can take the trolley to this event, since the station at the corner of Spring Street and La Mesa Boulevard stops in the heart of this event.

FIRE TRUCK PARADE DEC. 13

The annual Fire Truck Toy Parade rolls out on Saturday, December 13th from 9 a.m. to noon in the Target parking lot at 250 Broadway in El Cajon.  Fire trucks form Heartland Fire and Rescue will be joined by fire trucks from across East County stations – all loaded with donated toys for the Salvation Army’s East County Toy and Food Drive. 

If you want to help needy families this holiday season, you can bring a new unwrapped toy to the El Cajon fire department weekdays before the event, or to the KOGO radio booth at the Fire Truck Toy Parade on December 13th.

WARBIRDS WEST MUSEUM BREAKFAST AND OPEN HOUSE DEC. 13

Warbirds West Air Museum invites you to bring a new, unwrapped toy and attend a pancake breakfast and open house on Saturday, December 13 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

You can view World War II aircraft and displays, see over 40 antique and classic cars, and meet Santa Claus.  Families are welcome to attend.  The museum is located at 1725 North Marshall Avenue in El Cajon at Gillespie Field. For more information, visit www.wwam.org.

RAMONA HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL DEC. 13-14

‘Tis the season to be merry along the Holiday Wine Trail, featuring wineries on the Ramona East End Loop.  You can take the tour December 13 or 14 from 12 to 5 p.m.The tour includes six wineries with a total of 18 wine tastings paired with six holiday treats. 

(The wineries are Hatfield Creek Winery, La Finquita Winery and Vineyard, Pamo Valley Winery, Ramona Ranch Winery, Turtle Rock Ridge Winery, and Vineyard Grant James. Cost is $55 in advance, or $65 after 8 a.m. December 8th and at the door; a sourvenir wine glass is included at you can get 10% off bottle purchases. Special lodging discounts at Riviera Oaks Resort and Spa are available for those who don’t wish to drive home.)

Check in at Ramona Family Naturals on Dec. 13 or 14 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to receive your Holiday Wine Trail Passport and glass for tasting, at 642 Main Street in Ramona. (For advance tickets, visit http://tinyurl.com/reelhwt. ) Visit  Ramona Ranch Winery’s Facebook page for details.  

HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR DEC. 13 IN LEMON GROVE

The Soroptimist International Of Lemon Grove will hold a Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, December 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to benefit local charities. The event will take place at the Lemon Grove Academy auditorium on School Lane in Lemon Grove. Admission is free to the craft fair, which will feature original handmade gifts such as purses, jewelry, scarves and quilts. Proceeds will benefit the Soroptomist International Lemon Grove Holiday Giving and Lemon Grove Food Bank, as well as programs to improve the lives of women and girls.

CAROLING ON MT. HELIX DEC. 14

The annual Mt. Helix Park Sing-Along Caroling event will be held Sunday, December 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the ampitheater atop Mt. Helix.  Gina Seashore, and her talented group of musicians, will be leading the caroling at this free and festive event for the whole family.

Santa will be on hand to visit, but bring your own camera for photos. Free hot coffee and cocoa will be available, along with baked goods provided by SPRITES.  Parking and shuttles will be available at the San Miguel Fire Station. The first shuttle will run up the hill at 6:15 pm and shuttles will run continuously thereafter.  Be sure to dress warmly and bring a flashlight. 

 Now for a preview of coming attractions…

TRADITIONS OF CHRISTMAS DEC. 19-23

Christian Community Theatre annual production, Traditions of Christmas, will be returning to the stage after a one year hiatus. This year, the program will be held at the Don Powell Theater at San Diego State University, where the Christmas spectacular will run from December 19th through the 23rd.

You’re invited to be a part of one of San Diego’s most beloved traditions as Christian Youth Theatre  celebrates 21 years of Christmas memories.  This year’s production will feature scenes such as Christmas San Diego Style,  A Salute to the Military, White Christmas, exciting swing dances, tap numbers from a fantastic Rockette style kickline and more. For information and tickets visit www.CCTSanDiego.org.  

CIDER UNDER THE STARS AT OAKOASIS DEC. 20

San Diego County Parks invites you to an evening of holiday-themed star gazing and hot cider at Oakoasis Preserve(12620 Wildcat Canyon Road)  in Lakeside on Saturday, December 20th from 5 to 8 p.m.  The san Diego Astronomy Association will be on hand with high-powered telescopes for up-close viewing of stars and planets.  The evening also features a campfire, sweet treats and live music. Bundle up and brink a blanket for this fun event, which is free for the whole family.

   

(Park in the lot and walk a quarter mile, following signs to the event. Passenger drop-off and handicap parking are also available.)

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE’S HOLIDAY PARTY DEC. 21

East County Magazine’s annual holiday party will be held on December 21 from 3 to 6 p.m. at a private home on Mt. Helix.  Festivities include feasting and merrymaking, winetasting, music, prizes and surprises!  This event is open only to subscribers of East County Magazine and our staff. You can sign up for your free subscription – and your holiday party invitation--at www.EastCountyMagazine.org.

CHANUKAH CELEBRATION AT GROSSMONT CENTER DEC. 21

Chabad of East County invites you to a Chanukah celebration at Grossmont Center in La Mesa on December 21st at 4 p.m. The event will feature lighting of a giant balloon menorah, music, hot latkes to savor, Chanukah crafts and more. For details visit www.jewishec.com.

HANDEL’S MESSIAH IN JULIAN DEC. 21

The Julian Community Choir will perform Handel's Messiah, a beloved holiday classic, on December 21st at 7 p.m.  The concert will take place in Julian’s historic Town Hall.

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 http://www.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.