By Miriam Raftery
December 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--This week’s Destination East County is packed with holiday festivities, from Christmas on Maine Street in Lakeside to Santa at Santee Lakes and the "Light up the Grove" bonfire in Lemon Grove! Plus we’ll have previews of coming attractions, including La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village, a Winter Wonder Jam concert, and our very own East County Magazine holiday party.
So stay tuned for all of these events and much, much more, from East County Magazine.
LIGHT UP THE GROVE BONFIRE DEC. 5
Lemon Grove hosts is annual “Light up the Grove” bonfire on December 5th in Civic Center Park from 5 to 9 p.m. You can also visit the Lemon Grove Historical Society’s Christmas open house at the Parsonage and Lee House, where you can meet Santa and peruse the Elves’ gift shop. The night also includes horse-drawn wagon rides, games, face painting and crafts to provide spirited good cheer for people of all ages.
ALPINE CHRISTMAS PARADE OF LIGHTS & SNOW FESTIVAL DEC. 5
The 19th annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival will be held on December 5th from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The parade rolls out at 6:30 p.m. from West Victoria and ends at the Alpine Creek Town Center at 1347 Tavern Road in Alpine, where a snow festival complete with real snow starts at 7 p.m. Festivities include a visit from Santa Claus, carnival rides, food, and vendors.
MARIACHIS AND MORE: JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS CENTENNIAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION DEC. 6
Jacumba Hot Springs closes out its centennial year on Saturday, December 6th with a Feliz Navidad celebration. The event takes place at the Highland Center, 44681 Old Highway 80 from 2-5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Feliz Navidad showcases the festive mariachi music of the world-renowned Mariachi Garibaldi performing ensemble from Southwestern College, the first college in the world to offer a degree in mariachi music.
Visitors and town residents will join a luminaire procession to the Community Park for the lighting of the Christmas tree and to sing carols. Jacumba- grown tumbleweed trees, snowmen and other ‘snow creations’ will be on display throughout the community. Jacumba was once known for tumbleweed snowmen and the tradition is being revived. Festivities also include a piñata for the children, craft vendors, baked goods for sale, and raffle items including bountiful gift baskets, bicycles and a Christmas quilt. Complimentary refreshments will be served. For more information visit www.jacumbahotspringscentennial.org.
LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL DEC. 6
You’re invited to an afternoon of yuletide fun watching animals open their Christmas presents at Lions, Tigers and Bears. The animal rescue facility hosts is annual Christmas Festival Fundraiser on Saturday, December 6th from 1-4 p.m. You can also do holiday shopping at more than 40 vendor booths, enjoy food from Descanso Junction and visit Santa Claus. In addition, a new bear habitat will be unveiled during the December 6th event featuring rescued bears Albert, Cherry Bomb, Teddy and Baloo.
To buy tickets, or to donate a Christmas tree to give to the animals for play on this special day, visit www.lionstigersandbears.org.
SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS ON MAINE STREET IN LAKESIDE DEC. 6
The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host the 16th Annual Spirit of Christmas on Saturday, December 6th, 4pm to 9pm on Maine Avenue (between Parkside and Laurel) in Lakeside. This free, fun-filled family event will include a community tree lighting, visits with Santa, vendor booths, kids’ activities, food, music and entertainment by local bands & schools.
The evening will kick-off with the arrival of Santa and the lighting of the community Christmas tree at 5 p.m. by the Lakeside Fire Department. Then guests can saunter up and down Maine Street to experience visits with Santa, vendor booths, crafting tables, delicious eateries, kids’ zone and holiday music.
Children are encouraged to bring letters to Santa and drop them off in the special mailbox with delivery just to the North Pole. Remember to enclose a self-addressed stamped return envelope so Santa can send a letter back. The special North Pole mailbox will be onsite at the Lakeside Historical Society on Maine Avenue until December 24th. For more information, go to www.lakesidechamber.org,
LAKESIDE HOLDAY HOME TOUR DEC. 6
The Lakeside Historical Society will be hosting its annual holiday home tour on Saturday, December 6 from 10 a,m to 2 p.m. There are three decorated homes and one business on this tour and many antiques and collectables to enjoy viewing.Tickets ($15) can be purchased from the History Center, 9906 Maine Avenue (corner of Parkside) from 10am until 2pm Tuesday through Saturday or on the self-guided tour.
Also beginning on December 1st the Historical Society has its Mrs. Claus Christmas Resale Shoppe open for shopping for unusual holiday decorations. For more information call the History Center at 561-1886.
BORREGO HOLIDAY HOMES TOUR DEC. 6
Soroptimist International of Borrego Springs will also hold its Holiday Home Tour on Saturday, December 6 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. You canl tour five lovely homes in the Borrego Valley, each uniquely adorned for the holidays. From "ultra-modern" to "old school", each home will reflect the distinct decorating style of the homeowner. All proceeds go to fund educational scholarships for Borrego Springs' graduating seniors and youth organizations. (Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.borego.wix.com/holidayhometour)
BRIGHT MORNINGS, SILENT NIGHTS CONCERT DEC. 6
A free choral concert, “Bright Mornings, Silent Nights” will be presented by the Pacificaires and Cedar Center Chorus on Saturday, December 6 at 2 p.m. in the College Avenue Baptist Church, 4747 College Avenue in San Diego. The concert features Christian and Jewish holiday favorites as well as secular music.
A JOYFUL HOLIDAY MUSIC CELEBRATION: SAN DIGEO FESTIVAL CHORUS & ORCHESTRA DEC. 7
The San Diego Festival Chorus and Orchestra will present a Joyful Holiday Music Celebration on December 7th at 3 p.m. in the College Avenue Baptist Church, 4747 College Avenue, San Diego. The performance will include Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and Robert Shaw’s “The Many Moods of Christmas.”
The East County based San Diego Festival Chorus is in its 14th season. The 90-voice, 48-piece orchestra has performed Vivaldi’s “Gloria” on European tours. “The Many Moods of Christmas” is a choral arrangement of traditional Christmas music by Robert Shaw, former conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
You can hear selections from the performers and purchase tickets ($5-$17) at www.sandiegofestivalchorus.org.
SANTA AT THE LAKES DEC. 7
Santa arrives at Santee Lakes on Sunday, December 7 in a celebration that runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is fun for the whole family including snow sledding, carnival rides, inflatable jumps, boat rides, arts and crafts, food and s’mores. For details visit www.SanteeLakes.com.
Now for a preview of coming attractions…
WINTER WONDER JAM DEC. 12
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.
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.
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, 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 at www.EastCountyMagazine.org.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.