DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS DEC. 1-23

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East County News Service

November 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes a parade of lights and snow festival, a murder mystery theatre, a pottery studios tour, a holiday concert by the San Diego Festival Chorus and Orchestra, and a Christmas festival at Lions, Tigers and Bears.

Plus, we’ll tell you about coming attractions including La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village celebration, a holiday wine trail in Ramona, Victorian Christmas teas, and a production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Julian.

So scroll down for all of these events and many more!

LA MESA SHIMMER DEC. 1

You’re invited to enjoy the magic of the holiday season at La Mesa Shimmer on Thursday, December 1st from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.   A lighting ceremony will be held at 5 p.m.at Legacy Park in the heart of the city’s historic downtown village, where you can also enjoy a hot chocolate bar, live music,  holiday window displays, shopping and dining.  For more information, visit cityoflamesa.us/shimmer.

GROSSMONT COLLEGE THEATRE PRESENTS THESE SHINING LIVES DEC.1-10

Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre will present “These Shining Lives”  from  December 1st through 10th.  The play recounts the true story of women workers exposed to radiation at the Radium Dial Company. Their fight for justice and their sacrifices created a legacy of better working conditions for future generations. 

For tickets and details,  check out the show’s website at www.grossmont.edu/theatrebrochure.  

ALPINE PARADE OF LIGHTS AND SNOW FESTIVAL DEC. 2

A twinkling holiday parade, sledding down “Snow Hill,” visits with Santa, craft booths and more are all part of the 21st annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights and Snow Festival on Friday, December 2nd.

The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at West Victoria Blvd. and ends at Alpine Creek Town Center, 1347 Tavern Road.  There, a festival includes real snow to delight youngsters, as well as a kids zone, foods, vendor and information booths, and photo opportunities with Santa, so bring your camera.

Merchants Alpine Creek Town Center will also be open later for holiday shoppers.  For directions or details, you can visit  www.alpinecreekcenter.com.

LEMON GROVE BONFIRE DEC. 2

The City of Lemon Grove will light up the night at  its 19th annual community bonfire on Friday, December 2nd at Civic Center Park (3200 Main St.) from 5 to 9 p.m.

The city’s winter tradition includes the lighting of a giant bonfire as well as live music, rock climbing, a hayride, game truck, game booths,  arts and crafts, face painting, hot chocolate and snacks.

For more information, you can visit http://www.lemongrove.ca.gov/.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR MUSICAL AT SDSU DEC. 1-4

The pop rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar will be presented at San Diego State University’s Don Powell Theater on December 1-4.  Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday plus a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

This explosive psychedelic concert with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber is a collaboration between the Schools of Theatre, Television, and Film and Music and Dance, telling a universally known Biblical story through the unusual perspective of Judas Iscariot. The performance features the SDSU Aztec Concert and Chamber Choirs, as well as the SDSU Symphony Orchestra. 

For tickets ($15 students, $20 general) visit the SDSU Theatre Department. (http://ttf.sdsu.edu/index.php/season_calendar/jesus-christ-superstar-in-concert )

PICKWICK PLAYERS PRESENT "SOMETHING'S AFOOT" DEC. 2-17 IN SANTEE

Pickwick Players will present a murder mystery musical, “Something’s Afoot,” performing off-Broadway live December 2-7 at 9490 Cuyamaca Street in Santee.

In Something’s Afoot, ten people are stranded in an isolated English country house during a raging thunderstorm. One by one, they’re picked off by cleverly fiendish devices. As the bodies pile up in the library, survivors frantically race to uncover the identity and motivation of the cunning culprit. This zany, entertaining musical takes a satirical poke at Agatha Christie mysteries and musical styles of the English music hall of the ’30s.

For a show schedule, tickets and details, visit www.PickwickPlayers.net.

LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL DEC. 3

For a wild holiday event,  you’re invited to join Lions, Tigers & Bears, San Diego's only big cat and exotic animal rescue, for a Christmas fundraiser on Saturday, December 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

You can do holiday shopping, watch furry friends open Christmas presents, visit with Santa and enjoy lunch from food trucks. For tickets and details, see www.lionstigersandbears.org

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE AT ALPACAS OF SAN DIEGO DEC. 3

You’re invited to a Holiday Open Ranch at Alpacas of Diego, located in Descanso (10499 Highway 79), just east of Alpine.  This festive day of fun will be held on Saturday, December 3rd from10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can meet the alpacas, stock up on yarn, fleece and alpaca gifts for the holidays, find special activities for children and learn about alpaca farming. (Admission is free, but please, no pets.) For more information, you can visit  http://www.alpacasofsandiego.com/

JINGLE PAWS WALK FOR PETS DEC. 3

On Saturday, December 3, the ACES Foundation will be hosting the sixth annual Jingle Paws 1K and 5K Fun Walk from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College.  Registration is from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

The ACES Foundation's mission is to support the El Cajon Animal Shelter.  They have helped over 20 animals become adoptable by paying for surgeries, dental cleanings and eye surgery in 2016.

There will also be a Santa's Village immediately after the walk with doggie goodies and pet food vendors, pictures with Santa, refreshments and a silent auction.  The Santa's Adoption Village will have local rescue organizations and adoptable pets.  Shots 4 Pets will also be available for vaccines.  To register or get more information visit www.AcesFoundation.org.

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA DEC. 3 IN LAKESIDE

You can take the kids to breakfast with Santa Claus at the Lakeside Community Center (9841 Vine St.) on Saturday, December 3rd from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Lakeside firefighters and Sheriff deputies will be serving up the community breakfast. In addition to meeting Santa, children can enjoy other activities as well at this festive community event.

LAKESIDE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS DEC. 3

The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce invites you to enjoy the Spirit of Christmas on Maine Ave. in downtown Lakeside on Saturday, December 3rd from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Santa and his elves are hard at work getting ready for Christmas at this annual event (free!) that attracts and delights people of all ages.

There will be an atmosphere of an old-fashioned hometown Christmas.  The event features all the sights and sounds of Christmas including local school performances, Santa Claus, food and drinks, kids’ activities, jump jumps, rides, booths, crafters, and lighting the community Christmas tree.

ROCK AND GEM ROUNDUP DEC. 3-4

The El Cajon Valley Gem & Mineral Society invites you to their "Gem & Mineral Round-Up" on Saturday, December 3rd (9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) and Sunday, December 4th (9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.) at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds.

Enjoy gem, mineral, fossil, jewelry and craft vendors, raffle prizes and food booths.  There will also be activities for kids as well as gem identification services and unique gifts for holiday shoppers. (Admission and parking are free.)  

For more information, including how to be a vendor, contact Mary Ness at (619) 449-0759 or at ecvgms@gmail.com

SAN DIEGO POTTERY TOUR DEC. 3-4

The San Diego Pottery Tour on December 3rd and 4th will feature a self-guided tour of nine studios in San Diego and East County.  The tour features ceramic works of our region’s top potters.  For more information and a tour map,  visit www.SDPotteryTour.com.

SAN DIEGO FESTIVAL CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA “CHANSONS DE NOEL” CONCERT DEC. 4

The San Diego Festival Chorus and Orchestra will present a 15th anniversary holiday concert on Sunday, December 4 from 3 to 5 p.m.  at the College Avenue Baptist Church (4747 College Ave., San Diego).  

The classical part of the program will present two works: Mozart's Te Deum and Saint-Saën's Christmas Oratorio.  Mozart composed the powerful "Te Deum," which is regularly performed in the Catholic Mass, in 1769 when he was just 16!

In contrast, the lyrical and light "Christmas Oratorio" by Camille Saint-Saëns is a famous work from the Romantic Era of the 1800s.  Saint-Saëns made his concert debut at 10 years of age!

The second part of the program will feature seasonal music from a variety of periods and places including both familiar Christmas carols and some surprises.  You will recognize Christmas music in delightful new arrangements, and enjoy some unique songs like "Goin' to Bethlehem" and "No Time to Diet."  For tickets and details, you can visit  http://www.sandiegofestivalchorus.org

LA MESA BOULEVARD STROLL DEC. 7

The last La Mesa Boulevard Stroll of the year will be held along La Mesa Boulevard on December 7 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Santa will be at the Kids Corner from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (If it’s raining,  you’ll find Santa e inside Nainsook Framing + Art.)

Enjoy music and entertainment , caroling along the boulevard,  as well as deals from  participating businesses while you shop local and vote for the most festive storefront displays. For more information visit http://lamesaboulevardstroll.com/

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS TEAS IN JULIAN DEC. 8-23

Julian Tea and Cottage Arts (2124 Third Street) will host its 22nd annual Victorian Christmas Teas daily from Thursday, December 8th thru Friday, December 23rd.

The special menu includes a variety of finger sandwiches, savories, tea breads, scone with curd, jam and whipped cream, and a selection of seasonal desserts, or there is a special children’s menu for children under 12. Seating times are at 11:30, 1:15 and 3:00 (Cost is $26.95 for adults and $12.95 for children excluding tax and gratuity )

Reservations are required, and a deposit is required for groups of 8 or more.  For more information visit http://juliantea.com/.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL:  DEC. 9-17 IN JULIAN

Julian Theater Company willCharles’ Dickens “A Christmas Carol” at the Julian Town Hall  on two weekends in December – December 9 through 11 and again December 15-17.  This classic holiday tale reveals the transformation of Ebeneezer Scrooge,  who discovers the holiday spirit after visits by the ghosts of Christmas Past,  Present and future.

(Tickets cost $15 adults, $8 children 12 and under) For tickets and more information visit  http://www.juliantheatercompany.com/.

LA MESA’S HOLIDAY IN THE VILLAGE DEC. 10

The La Mesa Village Association's new event, Holiday in the Village, will be held on December 10th from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  You can stroll through La Mesa’s historic downtown village and enjoy live music and dance, caroling,  fire pits, craft vendors,  kids’ movies and activities,  food and shopping to put everyone in the mood of the season.

For more information, visit www.LaMesaVillageAssociation.org.

HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL DEC. 10-11

The Ramona Valley Vineyard Association will be holding a Holiday Wine Trail in the heart of East County’s wine country on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11, from noon until 5:00 p.m.  Wine lovers can visit 16 wineries decked out for the holidays.

To purchase a Holiday Wine Trail Passport and for additional information, you can visit www.ramonavalleyvineyards.com

ICE SKATING AT VIEJAS NOW THROUGH JAN. 29

The largest outdoor ice skating rink in Southern California is open at Viejas from now through the holiday season, until January 29th.  Under the glow of holiday lights, guests and visitors can glide around the rink or enjoy seasonal goodies. Feel the cool Pacific mountain air on your face while you bunny hop, camel spin, and swizzle your way around our ice rink—right here in San Diego.  For details you can visit www.Viejas.com.

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!