DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS DEC. 6-31

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By Miriam Raftery

December 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County features two Christmas plays at Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa, upcoming concerts at the Magnolia in El Cajon, North Pole Limited holiday train rides in Campo, a Holiday Gift Shoppe at the Water Conservation Garden, Alpine's Parade of Lights and Snow Festival, a Brotherhood of Man dance program in La Mesa, and Lakeside’s Spirit of Christmas on Maine.

Plus we’ll have a preview of events later on this month including East County Magazine’s Feasting & Merrymaking Holiday Party, Ramona’s Christmas tree lighting, a European Christmas market and caroling atop Mt. Helix, Santa at Santee Lakes, Julian Victorian Christmas teas,  La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village, Carols by Candlelight in Escondido, and a Paris Holiday Tea in El Cajon, a Boogie Woogie New Year’s Party at the Courtyard Marriott in El Cajon, and a Roaring 20s New Year’s Eve bash at Viejas.

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

LAMPLIGHTERS THEATRE PRESENTS TWO CHRISTMAS SHOWS NOW THROUGH DEC. 15

Lamplighters Theatre in La Mesa presents two Christmas shows running now through December 15th.  The Long Christmas Dinner by playwright Thornton Wilder showcase nine decades of family dinners through several generations.  A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas captures the magic of a perfect Christmas, seen through a child’s eyes.

The remaining plays are scheduled for Dec. 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 and 15 with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

For tickets and details, you can visit https://www.lamplighterslamesa.com/.

 

MAGNOLIA CENTER CONCERTS

The Magnolia Center, formerly known as the East County Performing Arts Center, has a variety of shows coming up in the next month.  

Upcoming performances include the World of Dance Live the Danish heavy metal band King Diamond, Straight Up with Stassi Live,  a 50-year tribute to the Beatles White Album, Which One’s Pink (a Pink Floyd tribute band), and Dave Koz and Friends gifts of the season Christmas tour.

For tickets and the full lineup, visit www.MagnoliaSanDiego.com or the Magnolia on Facebook. 

 

NORTH POLE LIMITED TRAIN RIDES DURING HOLIDAY SEASON IN CAMPO

The North Pole Limited, a special holiday train ride, will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo.

Santa’s elves will sing favorite Christmas carols, read a popular Christmas story to young ones, and pass out cookies and hot chocolate to all passengers. The North Pole Limited will stop at Santa’s Workshop to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will visit with all passengers on the vintage train on our way back to the lighted Campo Depot.

Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased at the Pacific Southwest  Railway Museum website at https://www.psrm.org

 

ALPINE PARADE OF LIGHTS AND SNOW FESTIVAL DEC. 6 

The 24th annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights and Snow Festival is slated to light up the holiday season and delight guests of all ages on Friday, December 6th.  The parade rolls out at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Alpine Blvd. and West Victoria Drive, ending at Tavern Road.  The  snow festival – with real snow and sledding – is at the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Blvd after the parade, until 9 p.m. 

Arrive early, since Alpine Blvd. will close down for the parade. Bring a chair and blanket to enjoy the lighted entries. At the snow festival afterwards, in addition to “snow hill” you’ll find vendors, food, music and a visit from Santa Claus.(The parade and snow festival are free to visitors.)  

For details, directions, or to inquire about entering the parade or having a booth at the snow festival, call the Alpine-Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce at (619) 445-2722 or go to www.VisitAlpine.org ( https://www.visitalpine.org/events/24th-annual-parade-of-lights-snow-festival)

 

LEMON GROVE BONFIRE TO LIGHT UP THE NIGHT DEC. 6

The city of Lemon Grove will hold its 22nd annual community bonfire in Civic Center Park (3200 Main St.) on December 6 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to a giant bonfire built by the fire department, this year's event will feature spaghetti-eating and ugly sweater contests, a horse-drawn carriage, music, rock climbing, an obstacle course, cookies and hot chocolate, and more.

Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for Heartland Fire & Rescue's Lemon Grove Toy Drive. Foods will also be available for purchase.

For more information contact mgonzalez@lemogrove.ca.gov, call (619)825-3815, or visit www.LemonGrove.ca.gov

 

BROTHERHOOD OF MAN DEC. 6-7

Visionary Dance Theatre will present “Brotherhood of Man” at the Visionary Performance Space (8677 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa) on December 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by Spencer John Powell and choreographed by the VDT male dancers, “Brotherhood of Man” is themed on the diversity of the male experience. The cast includes a broad spectrum of ages, races, and sexual orientations.  Each dancer presents a positive male role model going through the experiences and the struggles of life.

Tickets are available at http://www.VisionaryDanceTheatre.org

 

LAKESIDE’S SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS ON MAINE DEC. 7

The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce invites you to celebrate at its 21st annual Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue on Saturday, December 7th from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Santa and his elves are hard at work creating an atmosphere of an old-fashioned hometown Christmas featuring local school performances of holiday favorites, photos with Santa, food and drinks, children’s activities, jumpy jumps, crafters booths, and lighting of the community Christmas tree. Find details at www.LakesideChamber.com

 

RAMONA CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING DEC. 7

The Ramona Chamber of Commerce hosts the 27th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 7thfrom 5 to 8 p.m. Old Town Ramona will come alive with over a thousand Ramona residents out to celebrate the holiday season.  

Shops will be open late and Main Street between 6th and 8th Streets will be closed to traffic. There will be sleigh rides, a classic car and motorcycle display, music, dancing, carolers and of course Santa! The lighting of the tree in front of the Guy B. Woodward Museum will take place at 6 pm. Find more information at https://ramonachamber.com

 

HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPE SALE AT THE GARDEN DEC. 7

Looking for a little something special for that special someone? Drop by the Water Conservation Garden’s annual Holiday Gift Shoppe Sale on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to find wonderful whimsical gifts for your special gardener or garden aficionado.

Books, plants, bird houses, garden decor, hummingbird feeders, beeswax-based products, and more will be available, with many items discounted just in time to find a perfect treasure for the holidays.

After shopping, why not give yourself a gift and stroll through The Garden?

www.TheGarden.org

 

EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS, CAROLING AND MORE ATOP MT. HELIX DEC. 7

This year’s 29th annual Christmas on Mt Helix on Saturday, December 7th is expanding to feature European Christmas markets with local artisans from 2-5 p.m., followed by a family caroling sing-along from 5-6 p.m. and a reading of the Nativity story from 6-7 p.m.

Free parking is available at Grossmont High School with a shuttle ride to the top of Mt. Helix for the festivities.

For more information, visit www.Mt.HelixPark.org.

 

SANTA AT THE LAKES DEC. 8

Santee Lakes invites you join Santa at the Lakes on Sunday, December 8th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The festivities will feature a snow hill, carnival rides, inflatable jumps, crafts, food, character meets and greets and Santa Claus.  Get more information at www.SanteeLakes.com

 

JULIAN VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS TEAS  DAILY THROUGH DEC. 23

Julian Tea and Cottage Arts is hosting its 25th annual Victorian Christmas teas daily during December, through December 23rd. The special menu includes finger sandwiches, savories, tea breads, scones with lemon curd and jam, plus seasonal desserts with a pot of tea.  There is a special children’s menu and special vegetarian or gluten-free items are available with advance notice.  There are several seating times each day. Reservations are required and can be made at http://juliantea.com/.

 

LA MESA HOLIDAY IN THE VILLAGE DEC.13-14

The La Mesa Village Association's Holiday in the Village returns to downtown La Mesa December 13th and 14th.  

This family friendly event will feature a wonderland of festive holiday music and dance, food, kids activities, live entertainment, merchants open late for holiday shopping and more.  

Watch for details at http://www.lamesavillageassociation.org

 

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT DEC. 13-14 IN ESCONDIDO

Carols by Candlelight, a heartwarming holiday concert headlined by country music stars, will take place Dec. 13th & 14th at 8 p.m. the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Now in its 30th year, Carols by Candlelight benefits Rady Children’s Hospital.

Headliners both nights include Colin Raye, nominated for 10 Country Music Awards and Academy of Country Music awards, as well as Bryan White, Jamie O’Neal, Anna Vaus and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, winner of a 2010 Grammy Award.  Craig Campbell, a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and and NBC’s Today Show, will also appear on Saturday night only.

To close the evening after each show, the audience and stars meet in the courtyard and sing “Silent Night” by candlelight.  The event also includes a live auction with autographed guitars and other items, as well as silent auction items and raffle prizes.

Steve Vaus and Wayne Nelson of Little River Band created Carols by Candlelight bck in 1990 to make a life-changing difference in the lives of children.  Mayor Vaus says, “Carols is a gift of music to the community, but more important, a gift of hope for kids who will be spending the holidays in the hospital.” The concert has grown through the years, raising over 50,000 dollars for Rady Children’s Hospital in each of the last four years.

Carols by Candlelight also donates 500 tickets for each show to active duty military and first responders through Hero Gift Tickets.

You can buy tickets or get more concert information at www.CarolsByCandlelight.com.

  

PARIS HOLIDAY TEA DEC. 14

Friends of East County Arts, Inc. cordially invites you to “PARIS HOLIDAY,” the theme of this year’s annual holiday tea on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Parish Hall in El Cajon.

Guests are encouraged to don a fancy hat to enjoy champagne, tea, scones and desserts on fine holiday tableware. There will also be door prizes and opportunity drawings plus entertainment, including a performance by the Valhalla High School Dance Program, one of the recipients of this year’s grants.  

The nonprofit Friends of East County Arts has donated over $875,000 through the years, including over $30,000 this year – all to support performing arts and fine arts locally. Recipients include local schools and community organizations. 

For tickets and more information, you can visit https://www.friendsofecarts.org/.

 

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE’S HOLIDAY PARTY DEC. 15 

East County Magazine will hold its annual Feasting and Merrymaking VIP holiday party at our editor’s home on Mount Helix, with all the charm of a mountain lodge. The event features live music by Paul Nichols, a holiday feast, prize drawings and more festive fun.

The event is open to all East County Magazine subscribers. You can sign up to receive your complimentary subscription and holiday party invitation at www.EastCountyMagazine.org.

 

BOOGIE WOOGIE NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY AT COURTYARD MARRIOTT IN EL CAJON DEC. 31

The Courtyard Marriott Hotel in El Cajon invites you to a Boogie Woogie New Year’s Eve Party feature Grammy Award winner Hazel Payne, formerly of Taste of Honey, performing with Ken Meredith and Friends. The 10 piece band will bring you the sound of big bands.

Guests will also enjoy a buffet dinner, party favors, two drinks, live DJ Preacherman and emcee Gene Harris, formerly of Lights Out Jazz. 

For tickets to the New Year’s Eve Party including overnight lodging at the hotel ($99 total) call (619)334-6999 (or email GM.CYEC@excelhotelgroup.com). You can also visit the Courtyard Marriott El Cajon website for details.

 

ROARING ‘20S NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY AT VIEJAS

To ring in 2020, Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine is hosting a Roaring ‘20s themed New Year’s Eve bash that promises to be the resort’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration yet.

You’re invited to don your flapper dress or Gatsby get-up, then choose a package tailored to fit your budget  Festivities will span the ballrooms, pool bar, park, and beyond.

For more information, visit Viejas.com and click on the entertainment tab.  (viejas.com/new-years-eve-bash-2020/).

 

That’s all for this week! You can find details on all of these events and more in the calendar and events section at our website, 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 soon with more festivals, events and attractions in San Diego’s East County.