Festivals of the Month

VISIBLE IN PARTS OF EAST COUNTY THE HOTEL DEL CORONADO’S CHRISTMAS 2021 LIGHTS STUN

Photos of the week.

Photos and story by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

December 2, 2021 --- The  2021 Hotel del Coronado’s Christmas lights, visible in parts of East County, debuted a new look ---  shimmering, color-changing lights that resemble a castle. Their historic Norfolk Island Pines, located on their front Founders Lawn, draped with lights, created that illusion. 

“It looked like an Emerald City,” said visitor Jeff Nelson. “I was shocked to find out the lights were suspended on pine trees that have been there forever.”

The light show can be seen in elevated, hilly areas of East County.

According to staff this is the first year with this particular display noting they used a new contractor for the project.

The lights, named “At First Light” lightshow spectacular, feature lights that are draped over the historic pine trees that also include a coordinated music show and snow flurries. 

In addition to the "castle" the hotel is also decorated with thousands of lights on multiple roofs, buildings, fences and more. 


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CHABAD OF EAST COUNTY ADAPTS TO CARRY OUT FIRST NIGHT OF HANUKKAH CELEBRATION

Story and photos by Elijah McKee

Photo, left: Mayor Bill Wells lights menorah in El Cajon

December 1, 2021 (El Cajon) — Even the most thought-out plans can be derailed by a last-minute change, especially when a leader falls ill. This wasn’t true for the Chabad of East County on Sunday, though, as they pulled off their first night of Hanukkah event at the El Cajon Civic Center without a hitch, despite the absence of Rabbi Rafi Andrusier and his wife Chaya, who tested positive for COVID-19 the day before. 

They are both vaccinated, have mild cases, and will be back to normal soon — but instead of floundering in the unexpected changeup, a team of ten Chabad volunteers filled the void right away to execute the plans with the Rabbi’s virtual support. The event drew a large crowd two years ago but was skipped last year due to the pandemic — so it was all the more important for everyone to hold the tradition this year.


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HO HO! HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL EVERY WEEKEND FROM THANKSGIVING TO CHRISTMAS

East County News Service

November 26, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – What could be merrier than a Holiday Wine Trail in the country featuring 17 local wineries? This year, the Ramona Holiday Wine Trail is extended for a full month, each Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 28 to Dec. 19.


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CREST CHRISTMAS MARKET AND FESTIVAL DEC. 3-4

East County News Service

November 25, 2021 (Crest) – Santa will arrive by firetruck to cap off a two-day Christmas Market and Festival in Crest.  The event will be held at the Crest Clubhouse (113 North Park, El Cajon) on Friday, December 3 from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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LEMON GROVE'S 24TH ANNUAL BONFIRE DEC. 3

East County News Service

November 24, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – The holiday season heats up in Lemon Grove with the city’s 24th annual bonfire on Friday, December 3 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Treganza Heritage Park (3200 Main Street).  

Dress warm and come out with the family to enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies, bring friends and partake in activities including arts and crafts, a game truck, rock climbing, and live music. There will also be free hot chocolate and cookies for all, as well as other foods available for purchase.


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HOLIDAY FEST AT GROSSMONT CENTER NOV. 27-28; TREE LIGHTING NOV. 27

East County News Service

November 24, 2021 (La Mesa) -- You’re invited to a holiday fest at Grossmont Center mall in La Mesa on Saturday, November 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 28 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Come kick off your holiday shopping with a curated mix of over 70  local crafters and vendors while enjoying family-friendly activities at this fun, free holiday event.

November 27 is Small Business Saturday, and this will be the perfect opportunity to small and shop local among the shops and vendors at Grossmont Center. There will also be a tree lighting from 4 to 6 p.m. on November 27 in the Grossmont Center courtyard.

On both Saturday and Sunday, you can mix and mingle with Kris Kringle and friends while getting your holiday photos taken at one of the holiday photo backdrops and enjoy lunch or snacks including vegan options by local food vendors.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: EVENTS TO BE THANKFUL FOR

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County features many events to be thankful for – from Thanksgiving weekend events at a local camel dairy and exotic animal sanctuary to holiday tree lightings, live hawk demonstrations, Christmas festivals and more.

Scroll down for all of these events and many more!


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JULIAN’S COUNTRY CHRISTMAS AND TREE LIGHTING NOV. 27

East County News Service

November 23, 2021 (Julian) – Julian’s Country Christmas will be held on November 27 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Pioneer Park. 


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LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS HOSTS TURKEY BASH NOV. 26-27

East County News Service

November 18, 2021 (Alpine) – After you’ve savored your Thanksgiving feast, you’re invited to come watch exotic animals at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine device their Thanksgiving meal at the annual Turkey Bash.


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HEALING IN JACUMBA NOV. 21 AT THE DESERT VIEW TOWER

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2021 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The Desert View Tower in Jacumba Hot Springs will host “Healing Jacumba” this Sunday, November 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

 

 

The event includes energy healing, massage, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, Reiki, herbcraftersAnushi healing salves, cystal bracelets and more.


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POMEGRANATE DAYS RETURNS AT OASIS CAMEL DAIRY NOV. 26-28

 

East County News Service

November 14, 2021 (Ramona) -- On Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 26-28 from 12 to 2 p.m., Oasis Camel Dairy invites you to the return of Pomegranate Days along with an open farm tour.  The festivities include a live show featuring racing turkeys, talking parrots and camels.  

You can also feed apple treats to camels, take a camel ride, or shop for gifts such as camel’s milk soaps, lotions, bath products, chocolates and more. 


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SAN DIEGO ZOO WILDLIFE ALLIANCE TO PARTICIPATE IN 2022 ROSE PARADE; FLOAT HONORS ENDANGERED WILDLIFE AND SCIENTISTS WORKNG TO ENSURE ALL LIFE THRIVES

A California condor will soar above a rhino, a lion and a globe showcasing SDZWA’s worldwide conservation partnerships

Source:  San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

November 14, 2021 (San Diego) - On New Year’s Day, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance will participate in the 133rd Rose Parade presented by Honda, with a float representing the organization’s past, present and future in wildlife conservation—depicting a lion, a California condor and a rhinoceros. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is an international conservation organization with “two front doors”: the San Diego Zoo near downtown San Diego and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California. The float’s theme, “Creating Wildlife Allies,” brings to life San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s commitment to conservation in eight major regions across six continents, with over 200 collaborative conservation partners.


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FALL GARDEN FESTIVAL NOV. 13 AT THE WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN

East County News Service

November 10, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Beauty abounds at The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego, where the Fall Garden Festival will be held on November 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The event includes fall plant sales, educational talks, and tours to help you get planting for the season.


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HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON MAIN NOVEMBER 27 IN DOWNTOWN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

November 9, 2021 (El Cajon) – Downtown El Cajon will host its annual Holiday Lights on Main on Saturday, November 27 from 12 noon to 8 p.m.  The event features a tree lighting at 6 p.m. and free musical entertainment by the Original Starfires Band from 2-4 p.m., followed by the Siers Brothers Band.

There will also be a Santa Village with ice skating, carnival rides, live holiday music and Santa Claus!



The merchants group also invites the public to help support local business on this “Shop Small” occasion to keep revenues in the community.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

East County News Service

November 8, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) - This week’s Destination East County ushers in the holiday season with a wealth of holiday happenings and other special events across San Diego’s inland region.

Scroll down for all of these events and many more!


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VETERANS DAY EVENTS IN EAST COUNTY

East County News Service

November 8, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- In honor of Veterans Day, several special events are being held in East County. These include patriotic ceremonies, a concert and more.


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WINTER FUN IS BACK: VIEJAS ICE SKATING RINK REOPENS NOVEMBER 12

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2021 (Alpine) – Southern California’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at Viejas Casino & Resort will reopen for the holiday season  November 12 and will remain open until January 3.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with holiday lights, entertainment and a winter water show as well – all at the Viejas Outlets Center, across the street from the Viejas Casino in Alpine at 5003 Willows Road.

The rink is open daily from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting, except for these holidays:


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CIRQUE MUSICA HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR COMES TO THE MAGNOLIA IN EL CAJON NOVEMBER 17

By Miriam Raftery

November 2, 2021 (El Cajon) - The Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular Tour is coming to El Cajon’s The Magnolia on Wednesday, November 17 at 8 p.m. This all-new production will feature favorite holiday songs of all time performed with the world-renowned cast of Cirque Musica.


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SANTEE KICKS OFF HOLIDAY SEASON WITH TREE LIGHTING NOV. 19: EVENT INCLUDES CARRIAGE RIDES, SNOW SLEDDING AND SANTA

East County News Service

November 2, 2021 (Santee) -- The City of Santee’s annual Holiday Lighting Celebration returns this year, and will provide the community with the traditional elements they have come to expect when celebrating the holiday season. The event will take place Friday, November 19 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Santee Trolley Square.


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ACTIVITIES RETURN AT MISSION TRAILS INCLUDING HAWK TALKS, STAR PARTIES AND MORE

East County News Service

November 2, 2021 (San Diego) – After 20 long months, Mission Trails Regional Park welcomes back many of its programs including Trail Guide walks, Hawk Talk, Star Parties, the Native Flute Circle and more. For details, visit www.MTRP.org.


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ESCONDIDO RENAISSANCE FAIR RETURNS WITH MERRIMENT AND FANTASY: FUN CONTINUES NOV. 6-7

By Henri Migala

November 2, 2021 (Escondido) -- I can’t believe that I have lived in San Diego for over 20 years and have only now discovered the magic and fun of the Renaissance Fair in Escondido! I’m really sorry I never took my children there when they were little. I’m sure they would have loved at least as much as I did.


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HALL-O-WINE FUN OCT. 30 AT WINE WORKS IN LA MESA

East County News Service 

October 29, 2021 (La Mesa) - Wine Works in La Mesa invites you to Hall-o-Ween on Saturday, October 30th. Come in costume for a 7 p.m. costume contest and get $2 off a glass of wine or $5 off bottles.  You can also enjoy live music by Blame Betty and food from Birria Madrical.

 

Wine Works is located at 8167 Center Street, La Mesa, CA 91942.


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PARKWAY PLAZA HOSTS FALL FEST OCT. 30

East County News Service

Photo courtesy of Parkway Plaza

October 28, 2021 (El Cajon) – Parkway Plaza regional shopping mall in El Cajon invites you to bring the family to a free Fall Fest on Saturday, October 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The event features “adventure throughout the plaza to say hi to your favorite live characters such as Wonder Woman and Captain America, and partake in a variety of activities throughout the mall,” according to Parkway Plaza.  Guests can also enjoy carnival games such as ring toss and skee ball, visit a face painting table, or stop at the arts and crafts station to make skeletons, bats and more.

Parkway Plaza is located at 415 Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon. 


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CHRISTMAS MARKET DECEMBER 4 AT JULIAN MINING COMPANY

East County News Service

October 27, 2021 (Julian) – You’re invited to an old-fashioned Christmas Market at the Julian Mining Company (4444 Highway 78, Julian) on Saturday, December 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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ENTER IF YOU DARE: HAUNTED FOREST AT BANNER RANCH IN JULIAN

East County News Service

October 27, 2021 (Julian) – You’re invited to get into the Halloween spooky spirit Halloween weekend at Ghost Town Banner City’s haunted forest from 7 to 11 p.m. The Haunted Forest is located at historic Banner Ranch about seven miles from downtown Julian.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS OCT. 28 - NOV. 21

By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – This week’s Destination East County features many of East County’s most popular fall festivities including some haunting Halloween happenings, a murder mystery play, plus art and winetasting events to celebrate harvest season in our region’s wine country.

Scroll down for all of these events and many more!


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75TH ANNUAL MOTHER GOOSE PARADE WILL BE VIRTUAL NOV. 21

East County News Service

October 23, 2021 (El Cajon) – The 75th annual Mother Goose Parade will be held virtually on November 21, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, at 1 p.m.  You can view it at www.MotherGooseParade.org.  The parade theme is “Celebrating 75 Years of East County Fun.”


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LOCAL MOUNTAIN MEN RECREATE THE TIMES OF JEREMIAH JOHNSON IN EAST COUNTY AT THE LAGUNA MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS OCT. 16-17

By Henri Migala

October 16, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- If you’ve ever seen the classic 1972 movie, Jeremiah Johnson, played by Robert Redford, about the golden age of Mountain Men, you might remember the last line of the movie, “…. and some men say, he’s up there still.”


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ESCONDIDO RENAISSANCE FAIRE: 16TH CENTURY FANTASY WITH A PIRATE FLAIR

Event slated for Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 6-7

By Henri Migala

Photos by Mark and Miriam Raftery

October 14, 2021 (Escondido) -- What can be better than knights in shining armor, jousting, pirates, music, food and Halloween? You can have them all at the upcoming Escondido Renaissance Faire.


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RAMONA ART AND WINE FESTIVAL EXPANDS TO THREE-DAY EVENT NOV. 5-7

East County News Service

October 13, 2021 (Ramona) - The 9th annual Ramona Art & Wine Festival will feature nine wineries participating in the three-day progressive event on Friday to Sunday, November 5, 6 and 7, 2021.


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