DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS FEB. 17-APRIL 24

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By Miriam Raftery

February 14, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- This week’s Destination East County includes President’s Day weekend activities at Lake Jennings, a jazz concert at San Pasqual Winery’s tasting room in La Mesa, the Martin Luther King Community Choir in Lemon Grove, a star party and a Celtic harp concert at Mission Trails, Seussical the Musical in Spring Valley, tips from La Mesa Beautiful, and hawk watching in Ramona.

Plus, we’ll have coming attractions including Boots Ball in Borrego Springs, a St Patrick’s Day run through El Cajon, Gregory Page in concert at Mission Trails, Tomatomania at the Garden, a harmonica festival in La Mesa, Santee Lakes’ Springtime Extravaganza, Sweet Pea Day at Summers Past Farms, the season opener of Cajon Classic Cruise nights, an antique and crafts fair, and Heritage of the Americas Museum’s anniversary party.

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

PRESIDENT’S DAY WEEKEND ACTIVITIES AT LAKE JENNINGS

Lake Jennings in Lakeside invites you to some special President’s Day Weekend activities including New Moon fishing on Saturday, February 17th, when you can enjoy night fishing or kayaking under the stars up until 10 p.m.  Be sure to bring a lantern!

The lake will be stocked before the weekend with 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout. You can also catch bass, bluegill and other fish.

On President’s Day-- that’s Monday, February 19th, the lake will be open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those wishing to enjoy a picnic, fish from the shoreline or rent a boat. Campsites are also available.

For information or reservations, visit LakeJennings.org.

STAGE 4 JAZZ CONCERT FEB. 17 AT SAN PASQUAL TASTING ROOM, LA MESA

San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room in La Mesa’s downtown village will host live music by Stage 4 Jazz on February 17th at 7 p.m. 

Stage 4 is a dynamic group with a repertoire that spans jazz, rhythm and blues and more.

Learn more at sanpasqualwinery.com/.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. COMMUNITY CHOIR CONCERT FEB. 17

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir of San Diego will perform gospel and inspirational songs at the Lemon Grove Library on Saturday, February 17th at 2 p.m. 

The ensemble’s music celebrates the history of Negro spirituals, aspiring to be inspirational and uplifting. 

For more information, you can visit the musical group’s website at MLKCCSD.org.

STAR PARTY AT MISSION TRAILS FEB. 17

View the Andromeda galaxy, the Orion Nebula and other celestial sights during a Star Party at Mission Trails Regional Park on Saturday, February 17th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Amateur astronomer and trail guide George Varga will have a telescope available for viewing the night sky at the far end of the Kumeyaay Lake Campground’s day use parking lot.  Learn more at www.MTRP.org.

CELTIC HARP CONCERT FEB. 18 AT MISSION TRAILS

Amy Lynn Kanner will perform a Celtic harp concert at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitors Center auditorium on Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.

The performance will feature Pachelbel's "Canon" and Debussy's "Clair de Lune," plus popular music like “Stairway to Heaven," and more.

For details and directions, visit Mission Trails Regional Park.

LA MESA BEAUTIFUL MEETING FEB. 18

Learn tips for attracting pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden at La Mesa Beautiful’s annual meeting on February 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Nan Couts Cottage, 5045 Memorial Drive, La Mesa.

Marcia Van Loy, a volunteer with the Master Gardener Association for 17 years, will be the speaker. Growing plants for all types of pollinators in her hillside garden is one of Loy’s favorite subjects to share with others. Her garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat and a Certified Earth Friendly Garden.

The program is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to lamesabeautiful@gmail.com

SEUSSICAL, THE MUSICAL FEB. 22 - MARCH 4 IN SPRING VALLEY

Young Actors Theatre will present “Seussical, the Musical” at the Encore! Theatre in the Casa de Oro area of Spring Valley from February 22 through March 4th

This musical production brings to life your favorite Dr. Seuss characters, from the Cat in the Hat to Horton the Elephant.  For tickets, visit www.YATSanDiego.org.

HAWK WATCH AT RAMONA GRASSLANDS EACH SATURDAY IN FEB.

The Wildlife Research Institute invites you to Hawk Watch. Each Saturday in February at 10 a.m., visitors can see birds of prey such as hawks, eagles and owls. Sponsored by the Wildlife Research Institute, this year Hawk Watch will not be held at the Institute’s headquarters, but instead at Begent Ranch (18528 Highland Valley Road), a private ranch open only for the Hawk Watch events.

Guests are advised to arrive a half hour early for parking, bring binoculars, and enjoy coffee and doughnuts before viewing the raptors that make their homes in the Ramona Grasslands. For more information, you can visit http://www.wildlife-research.org/.

NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

BOOTS BALL MARCH 3

You’re invited to don your “desert dressy” attire and finest hiking boots for the second annual “Boots Ball” hosted by the Anza Borrego Foundation on Saturday, March 3 from 2-5 p.m.

Guests will enjoy musical entertainment, food, live and silent auctions and learn about the Foundation’s vision for the next 50 years. The guest speaker, Obi Kaufmann, is a poet, artist, and advocate for wilderness conservation.

The Boots Ball will be held at the Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center in Borrego Springs. For tickets and registration for the Boots Ball fundraiser, visit the Anza Borrego Foundation’s website at www.TheABF.org.

GREGORY PAGE AT MISSION TRAILS MARCH 4

Gregory Page, an international touring and recording artist, returns to Mission Trails Regional Park auditorium for a concert (free!) on Sunday, March 4th at 3 p.m.

This London born Irish-Armenian citizen of the world has imagination and conscience as well as vocal talent.  He will share his stunning guitar work, songs of peace, ballads of “Optimistic Melancholy” and in his words, “true stories he makes up” with the Mission Trails listening audience in performance for the whole family.

For details, visit Mission Trails Regional Park website at www.MTRP.org.

ST PATRICK’S DAY HALF MARATHON MARCH 4

Run East County invites you to take part in the annual St. Patrick’s Day half marathon, 5K race, and Green Mile through downtown El Cajon on Sunday March 4th.  There’s also a Tribes and Clans CrossFit competition, a Tribes and Clans for Kids event, and a beer garden.

Participants are encouraged to wear green and participate in a costume contest as you join avid runners and walkers for a morning of fun – all to benefit local East County charities.  

To register for the St. Patrick’s Day Half Marathon race or other events, you can visit www.StPatricksDayHalf.com

ROMAS, BEEFSTEAKS, STRIPES AND MORE AT TOMATOMANIA MARCH 10TH

Tomatomania returns on March 10th and 11th from 9.a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College.  This famous weekend-long sale features heirloom and hybrid tomato seedlings of every size, shape, color, and taste profile.

Planting tomatoes marks the beginning of spring for gardeners and who can’t resist the fresh taste of a garden tomato?  You can get expert advice, pick up tools, attend classes and take a tour of the garden. Plus visitors can savor some time-honored tomato refreshments. 

Find more delicious details at TheGarden.org.

The Alaska String Band will perform at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre on Friday, March 16th at 7 p.m. to benefit the ministries of Alpine’s Christ the King Episcopal Church.  Be entertained by the delightful talent of this family band, as they take you on a musical journey filled with the rich sounds of bluegrass and a variety of timeless American classics while wide-screen images portray the beauty of Alaska to create a visually captivating setting.

ALASKAN STRING BAND IN CONCERT MARCH 16 AT KROC THEATER

The Alaska String Band brings the best of Americana.  Winners of the Fame Awards - Bluegrass Band of the Year, this group has polished and riveting harmonies offering up American roots favorites: swing, jazz, rock, original, pop, folk and bluegrass.  Highly praised, currently chosen and airing nationwide on PBS to over 80 million viewers is the Alaska String Band’s one-hour musical docu-drama, “Southeast Alaska Odyssey.

Tickets are available online today by visiting www.ChristTheKingAlpine.org.

For more information, call 619-445-8968 or 619-445-3419 or visit www.ChristTheKingAlpine.org.

BUNNY TRAIN DEPARTS MARCH 24 AND 25 AND 31

The Easter Bunny will board the train at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s depot in Campo on March 24th, 25th and 31st to visit with passengers as the train travels through San Diego’s beautiful east-county mountains. 

After enjoying the one-hour journey along 12 miles of track, the train stops at the Museum’s Display Building where more fun awaits. That includes two Easter egg hunting areas for children—one with eggs in plain site for young children, the other with eggs carefully hidden in the Museum’s display building.

Children may turn in the plastic eggs they find to Museum volunteers for sweets and other prizes.  Entrance into the Display Building and both Easter egg hunts is included with train tickets.

For ticket prices and reservations, visit the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum website at https://www.psrm.org/ and click on the “Bunny Train” option listed under “train rides.”

SPRING EXTRAVAGANZA AT SANTEE LAKES MARCH 25

Santee Lakes and the City of Santee invite you to a Spring Extravaganza on Sunday, March 25th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This event includes continuous egg hunts for children age 8 and under, as well as carnival rides, crafts, face painting, pony rides, photos with the Easter bunny and more.

Tickets are required for some activities.

For details, visit www.SanteeLakes.com.

SPRING HARP FEST MARCH 31 IN LA MESA

Harmonica players from far and wide will participate in the 19th annual Spring Harp Fest on Saturday, March 31st from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Harry Griffen Park in La Mesa (9550 Milden St.).

The lineup of top players and a harmonica jam fest at the event all help benefit music programs in local schools. You can also shop for harmonicas and other musical items.

For details, visit www.SpringHarpFest.org.

 THE SAPS AT SEA PROUDLY PRESENT COMIC CALAMITIES NIGHT MARCH 31

The Saps at Sea, the official Laurel & Hardy fan organization of San Diego, continue their slam-bang festival of funtastic films on Saturday, March 31st at 7:00 p.m. at Williams Hall at Trinity Church in Spring Valley (3902 Kenwood Drive) with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

In the second of five 40th anniversary programs, the Saps will screen another riotous Tex Avery cartoon. Next, the hilarious short "Going Bye-Bye!" Then, Charley Chase is joined by Thelma Todd in the mistaken identity laugh fest (and grand sheik John Field's favorite short of his), "The Pip From Pittsburgh"

After intermission treats galore, the Saps will screen "Block Heads.”

One brilliant gag after another awaits. Join the Saps for another evening of good times.   For more information, visit the official Saps at Sea San Diego Facebook Page.

SWEET PEA DAY AT SUMMERS PAST FARMS APRIL 14 IN FLINN SPRINGS

Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs, just east of El Cajon, invites you to Sweet Pea Day on Saturday, April 14th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Visit a towering sweet pea maze at this event celebrating the fragrant, old-fashioned flowers in their full glory.

You can preview the maze from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and cut your own bouquet starting at 11 a.m. until they are gone—which doesn’t take long!

Guests can also enjoy live music with Jim Earp on a shady pavilion, savor snacks at an outdoor coffee bar, or picnic on the grass to round out an idyllic spring day.

For more information you can visit www.SummersPastFarms.com.

CAJON CLASSIC CRUISE SEASON OPENER APRIL 14

The Cajon Classic Cruise will rev up its season opener on Wedneday, April 14th from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown El Cajon. 

Thousands of people from across the region come to Cajon Classic Cruise nights each Wednesday, all summer long.

In addition to viewing classic vehicles with a different theme each week, visitors can enjoy musical entertainment at Prescott Promenade on Main Street just east of Magnolia, or arrive early to dine at an outdoor café for a roadside view of the Cajon Classic Cruise.

For more information you can visit DowntownElCajon.com.

ANTIQUES AND CRAFT FAIR APRIL 21-22 AT SUMMERS PAST FARMS

An Antiques and Crafts Fair will be held at Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs on Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can view works by over 70 craftsman and artisans while shopping for crafts, collectibles, antiques, and garden items.

Find details at www.SummersPastFarms.com.

HERITAGE OF THE AMERICAS ANNIVERSARY APRIL 14

Heritage of the Americas Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special event on Saturday, April 14th from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring guest artist Alfredo Rodriguez.

The celebration also features a catered buffet, music, auction, drinks and good times.

For more information, visit heritageoftheamericasmuseum.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!