By Miriam Raftery
December 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes the North Pole Limited train rides with Santa, the Ramona Holiday Wine Trail, a Christmas Cabaret in La Mesa, reindeer at Grossmont Center, A Christmas Carol in Julian, Tony Orland at Sycuan, and a big band holiday concert in El Cajon.
Plus, we’ll have a preview of coming attractions including New Year’s Eve parties at Viejas and in Jamul, Sinatra and friends at Borrego Performing Arts, and Carnaval Fantastique in Sycuan.
So scroll down tuned for all of these events and many more!
NORTH POLE LIMITED: TRAIN RIDES WITH SANTA IN CAMPO DEC. 15, 16, 22 and 23
The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo invites you to take a ride aboard the North Pole Limited, a special holiday train ride departing Fridays and Saturdays through December 23rd at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Guests are advised to arrive at least 45 minutes early to get tickets for the North Pole Limited. Once you’re onboard, Santa’s elves will sing Christmas carols, read a popular Christmas story to children and pass out cookies and hot chocolate to all passengers. The train will stop at Santa’s Workshop to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will visit with all passengers as the North Pole Limited head back to the Campo Depot.
This popular ride does sell out, so advance reservations are recommended through the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum website at https//www.PRSM.org.
RAMONA HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL CONTINUES DEC. 16-17
Participating wineries from the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association are featuring a “Holiday in the Country” when you “Follow the Ramona Wine Trail” in the heart of San Diego Wine Country which continues this weekend, December 16 and 17.
Wine fans can visit 14 wineries decked out for the holidays. In addition to discounted tastings, individual wineries are presenting their own selected special holiday happenings to accompany wine and food tasting, such as Santa in a wine cave, holiday music, and crafters’ goods for holiday shopping.
You can get your Holiday Wine Trail Passport at www.ramonavalleyvineyards.com.
A CHRISTMAS CABARET DEC. 1-17
Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa invites you to get in the holiday spirit at a Christmas Cabaret showing that continues through December 17th. Lamplighters presents an uplifting showcase of local talent performing seasonal favorites not only from Christmas, but many December holidays as well.
For tickets and details, visit https://www.lamplighterslamesa.com.
REINDEER AT GROSSMONT CENTER DEC. 17
Ho, ho, ho! As Santa’s Christmas Eve sleigh ride approaches, you can bring children to take photos and feed a live reindeer at Grossmont Center this Sunday afternoon, December 17th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Graham crackers will be available for free to feed the reindeer while supplies last. The reindeer will be located in the center court near the guest services booth.
For more information, visit www.grossmontcenter.com.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL DEC. 15-16 IN JULIAN
Julian Theatre Company will present Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol.” This timeless tale focuses on the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit and his impoverished family including the frail Tiny Tim face a grim future, unless Scrooge can find redemption and discover the true spirit of Christmas.
Performances will be held at Julian Town Hall on December 15th and 16th. For tickets and details, visit JulianTheaterCompany.com.
A BIG BAND CHRISTMAS DEC. 17
The Gaslamp Quarter Jazz Orchestra will present a free concert on Sunday, December 17 at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 500 Farragut Circle in El Cajon. The program includes a medley of Christmas music. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
The musical group started in 2015 reflects influences of big band and jazz greats such as Count Basie, Wynton Marsalis, and Duke Ellington.
For more information, visit www.firstpres-elcajon.org.
TONY ORLANDO CONCERT AT SYCUAN DEC. 17-18
Singer Tony Orlando will be live in concert at Sycuan on December 17th and 18th.
His career between at age 16 with his first hit song, Halfway to Paradise. His band, Tony Orlando and Dawn, had several major hits in the 1970s including Candida, Knock Three Times and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree, as well as the Tony Orland and Dawn Show on TV.
After the band broke up, Orlando has continued as a solar singer with performances in Las Vegas, Branson Missouri and now, El Cajon. For tickets, visit www.Sycuan.com.
FIDDLE CHRISTMAS CONCERT DEC. 16 AND 23
Clap and dance with Celia Lawler, back by popular demand. The fiddling and clogging singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will be performing holiday concerts at Parkway Plaza shopping mall in El Cajon on two Saturdays, December 16 and 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Macy’s Court.
For more information, visit www.shoppingparkwayplaza.com.
BIG BAND AND JAZZ AT OFF BROADWAY LIVE IN SANTEE DEC. 22
Off Broadway Live Theatre in Santee will present “"A Big Band Christmas with The Gaslamp Quarter Jazz Orchestra & Leonard Patton" on Friday, December 22nd at 7 p.m.
The theatre is located at 9490 Cuyamaca Street in Santee. For more information or tickets to this special holiday concert, call 619-988-LIVE (5483) or visit https://www.offbroadwaylive.com/
NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…
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.
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 http://www.bspac.us.
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 www.Sycuan.com.
That’s all for this week!
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We’ll be back next week with more festivals, events and attractions in San Diego’s East County!