Festivals of the Month

SOCIALLY DISTANCED SELFIES WITH THE EASTER BUNNY IN SANTEE MARCH 26

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
 
(Image courtesy of City of Santee) 

March 2, 2021 (Santee) – The City of Santee will be offering socially distanced selfies with the Easter bunny on March 26 and reservations are required.

Family selfies, or children-only selfies, are offered as well as an at-home egg hunt kits for kids are included. The eggs will offer candy and other prizes and are $1.00 per kit, per child.

The event will be held March 26 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Santee Trolley Square Stage located at 9868 Mission Gorge Road.

Donations from Denny’s, Epic Wings, Rubio’s, Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, and Chili’s will be added to the at-home egg hunt kits.


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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

 

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN, by Emmanuel Acho (Flatiron Books, New York, NY, 2020, 244 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

February 28, 2021 (San Diego) - Emmanuel Acho believes the only way to cure our nation’s oldest disease – racism – starts with a profound, revolutionary idea: actually talking to one another. No, seriously. Until it gets uncomfortable … and then some!

In Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, “An Oprah Book”, Acho connects his own experience with race and racism – including his majority – white prep school education juxtaposed with his time in majority – black NFL locker rooms – with the lessons of history, culture, and the wisdom of other voices. The result is an essential guide to the conversations we should all be having to increase our understanding and join the anti-racist fight.


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THIS ROCKS: MISSION TRAILS GEOLOGY LECTURE SERIES STARTS FEB. 18

East County News Service

February 16, 2021 (San Diego) --  The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation continues the OnTopic online lecture series with three upcoming presentations about the geology of the park with Pat Abbott, Ph.D. 

 

The presentations are free, but registration is required.


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LATINO FILM FESTIVAL HOLDS DRIVE-IN AND VIRTUAL SCREENINGS IN MARCH

East County News Service

February 11, 2021 (San Diego) -- Roll out the red carpet and bring in the big screen. The San Diego Latino Film Festival is Back With Drive-In Screenings and more. 


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FROM TAI CHI TO ZUMBA, GET FIT WITH COUNTY PARKS & REC PROGRAMS IN FEBRUARY

By Miriam Raftery 

February 11, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Looking to have fun and burn off calories? San Diego County Parks and Recreation is offer a wide range of classes such as soccer shots, Zumba, yoga, tai chi and more.

 

Class fees apply. Programs have been adjusted due to public health orders; call for details.


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VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP: CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH JAZZY ASH

Source: Poway OnStage

In Poway OnStage’s Virtual Field Trip celebrating Black History Month, Jazzy Ash will introduce students to the musical stylings of zydeco, jazz, blues and swing in her energetic and engaging concert. The free virtual concert is ongoing from now until February 26, 2021[days & times]

Ash draws out the roots of West African song traditions, rhythms and games. Extension activities include interactive Instrument Match game, a storybook reading and a visual art lesson.


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SHOOTING STARS: NIGHT SKY PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE MARCH 11

East County News Service

 

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

February 4, 2021 (Julian) – A free virtual night sky photography course will be offered March 11 from 6 p.m to 7:30 p.m. with Kevin Wixom, who has been shooting the night skies for years in San Diego, Hawaii and other places.


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GET A HEAD START ON SPRING GARDENING AT MASTER GARDENER VIRTUAL SEMINAR MARCH 20

East County News Service

February 4, 2021 (San Diego) -- Wondering what plants make the most sense for San Diego gardens this year? Want to grow magnificent roses and stunning succulents in the same backyard? Tired of losing your fruits and vegetables to bugs and hungry wildlife? Then master the art of gardening San Diego style with the UCCE Master Gardener Program of San Diego County at a virtual Spring Seminar “Learn, Plant, Grow!” on Saturday, March 20, 2021 starting online at 9:00 a.m. 


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WALK TO SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY FEB. 6 CALLS ON SUPERVISORS TO BUY LAND FROM HELIX WATER

By Miriam Raftery

February 3, 2021 (Lakeside) – County Supervisors will vote February10 on a proposal to purchase a 104-acre parcel of land in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley from the Helix Water District. This Saturday, Feb. 6, a “Walk to Save El Monte Valley” will be held by East County Land-Use Watchdogs, a 501c3 nonprofit, along with Save El Monte Valley.  Supporters are also urged to sign a petition that has gathered nearly a thousand signatures so far.

Walkers should meet at 10204 Channel Rd. in the dirt lot for the two-mile walk, which is organized by Save El Monte Valley and the East County Land-Use Watchdogs. Arrive at 9 a.m. for the walk starting at 10 a.m. Masks are required. Participants are urged to wear yellow, comfortable shoes, and bring water.

“This land MUST be purchased by the County so it can be conserved and utilized for the public good as open space, instead of being left exposed to development that loses the area’s rural character and doesn’t have the community’s interests at heart,” the flyer states. “Come walk with the East County Community including local Tribal members and supporters of the river this Saturday. Your voice makes a difference!”


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SAN DIEGO GO RED FOR WOMEN EFFORT RAISES AWARENESS AND FUNDS FOR HEART DISEASE FEB. 5-26

Source: Mission Fed Credit Union

January 26, 2021 (San Diego) -- Mission Fed Credit Union is proud to be a local supporter of the San Diego Division of American Heart Association’s (AHA), “San Diego Go Red for Women,” campaign.  Go Red for Women began January 18, 2021, includes National Wear Red Day on February 5th, and runs through February 26, 2021, concluding with a much anticipated Go Red for Women Digital Experience. 


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JANUARY ACTIVITIES: VIRTUAL FUN AND OUTDOOR REC CLASSES THROUGH COUNTY PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

January 18, 2021 (San Diego) – The San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department has published a list of January activities for people of all ages, including virtual activities, outdoor classes and more at  https://en.calameo.com/read/005135571cb109dd2fd99 .


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IN 2021, CONSIDER A VIRTUAL TRAINING CLASS FOR YOUR DOG OR CAT

By Juliette Nash, Community Training Coordinator, San Diego Humane Society

Photos courtesy San Diego Humane Society

January 16, 2021 (San Diego) -- Whether you’ve just adopted a puppy during the pandemic or you’re a longtime pet owner, positive reinforcement-based behavioral training is key to a happy, healthy human-animal relationship, especially while everyone is spending more time at home. But with most traditional in-person training classes on hold in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may feel your options are limited. That is not the case, though — and trainers at San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) have moved many of their training classes online. They have found online training classes, conducted via Zoom or other video chat platforms, can bring tremendous results to pets and families alike.

The Importance of Training Your Pet


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JACUMBA STREET MARKET JANUARY 9

East County News Service
 
January 5, 2021 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – The Jacumba Street Market will be Saturday, January 9 and on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Safety protocols for COVID-19 will be observed, according to organizers.

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LOCAL CASINOS CANCEL NEW YEAR’S PARTIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

December 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On most New Year’s eves, local casinos host lavish parties with amenities such as fireworks, dinner and dancing, and even a glittering ball drop reminiscent of Times Square in New York.  But not this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 343,000 Americans and 1.8 million people worldwide.

Local casinos are on tribal land, and as sovereign nations, tribes are exempt from state shutdown orders and gathering bans. But a check of websites for East County casinos including Barona, Golden Acorn, Jamul, Sycuan and Viejas found none promoting any New Year’s eve parties, though some are offering gambling promotions and Sycuan has live music in its bars.

Jamul Casino announced cancellation of all live music over New Year's.  Barona posted, “For your safety, there will be no New Year’s Eve events.”


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JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS HOSTS OPEN AIR PRE-HOLIDAY EVENTS DEC. 19: GIFT AND ART SALE, PLUS BBQ TURKEY AND BRISKET TAKEOUT DINNERS

By Rebecca Person
 
December 17, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The scenic route along Old Highway 80 and the I-8 freeway toward Jacumba Hot Springs is a welcome break these days as people seek the fresh air and scenery of San Diego County’s outback.

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STARLIGHT AMPHITHEATRE HOSTS “SANTA’S ZOOM ROOM” DEC. 20-22

A gift to the community, spreading hope and joy during the holidays, Starlight Amphitheater’s New Streaming Studios give children a one-on-one personal minute with Santa

East County News Service

 

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) - This holiday season, Starlight Amphitheaters New Streaming Studios gives children a one-on-one personal minute with Santa unlike any other. The Save Starlight organization, the non-profit working in tandem with the city in the restoration and re-activation of the Historic Starlight Amphitheater in Balboa Park, is hosting Santa’s Zoom Room on 12/20-12/22, this Sunday - Tuesday from 5-8 p.m.


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SANTA AT THE LAKES DEC. 6 IN SANTEE

East County News Service

November 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Santa is coming to town on Sunday, December 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Santee Lakes (Lake 1 Gazebo).  A physically distanced meeting and photo opportunity will be available with Santa.

A reservation to visit Santa is encouraged, however walk-up visits will be available throughout the day based on availability. Make your reservation to visit with Santa at https://santaatthelakes.setmore.com/


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LEMON GROVE BONFIRE DEC. 4 TO BE DRIVE-UP DUE TO COVID

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove will warm up the holiday season with its 23rd annual bonfire on Friday, December 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be a drive-through event with festive lights, goody bags, special characters and a photo opportunity.

Drive-through in your vehicle (no walk-ups) at Treganza Heritage Park, 3200 Main Street in Lemon Grove.


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DUAL FIREWORKS DISPLAY TO MARK SANTEE’S 40TH BIRTHDAY BASH DEC. 1

 

Stores to also offer birthday sweet treats  

By Mike Allen

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Santee Salutes

November 22, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee will celebrate its 40th birthday Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. by holding simultaneous fireworks displays at two sites, allowing residents a chance to cheer themselves while staying safely apart.

City officials said they had more expansive celebration ideas a year ago to mark the city’s official inception on Dec. 1, 1980 including musical concerts and other events that would attract lots of people, but then COVID-19 intervened, making those plans inappropriate.


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DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS NOV. 22-DEC. 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This special edition of Destination East County features seasonal and holiday events, real and virtual, to brighten up your holiday season even amid a pandemic. Many are online, others are drive-through or provide social distancing and other precautions to celebrate the season in festive outdoor settings.

Events coming up include a virtual version of the Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon, “a satirical play titled "November" produced online by San Diego’s Trinity Theatre, fireworks for Santee's 40th birthday celebration, a drive-up holiday bonfire in Lemon Grove, La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village complete with craft market, Santa at the Lakes in Santee, the Enchanted Village drive-through holiday lighting extravanganza at Noah’s Homes in Spring Valley,  more  holiday lights at Starlight Circle and Lantern Crest in Santee, a Thanksgiving Turkey Bash and Christmas with the Animals at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Santee, plus real and virtual visits with Santa Claus via Parkway Plaza in El Cajon.

Scroll down for full details on all of these fun and festive holiday season happenings.


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74TH ANNUAL MOTHER GOOSE PARADE GOES VIRTUAL ON SUNDAY, NOV. 22

 

If you missed the parade you can watch the virtual video here with highlights of the best parades through the years:  https://www.facebook.com/ABC10News/videos/365702947867513

Source: Mother Goose Parade

 

November 16, 2020 (El Cajon) -- East County's holiday favorite Mother Goose Parade, traditionally held the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is going to look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic when it takes place.

Virtually on Sunday, November 22nd, on San Diego's KGTV-TV Channel 10News.com, starting at 1 p.m.  It will be an exciting video montage of past parades so everyone can still enjoy the parade, but safely.

The parade, the largest holiday season parade west of the Mississippi, has been a community tradition for 74 years. Despite having to cancel the celebration, which traditionally winds down the main streets of downtown El Cajon, parade organizers anticipate the broadcast will still be a festive experience marking the beginning of the holiday season.


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LIONS, TIGERS AND BEARS EXOTIC ANIMAL SANCTUARY KICKS OFF HOLIDAY SEASON WITH FESTIVE, SOCIALLY-DISTANCED OUTDOOR EVENTS

Source: Lions, Tigers and Bears
 
November 18, 2020 (Alpine) – Lions Tigers & Bears, San Diego’s only accredited big cat and bear sanctuary, is welcoming guests to spend the holidays with its resident exotic animals. The animal rescue and education facility has released its holiday schedule, celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with enriching animal activities during their limited-capacity, special visits.
 
Lions Tigers & Bears guests will encounter retired circus animals, exotic animals formerly used for inhumane photo and petting opportunities and abandoned, illegally owned big cats, all who’ve been rescued and given forever homes in wide open habitats.
 
Visitors will observe in awe as these majestic creatures celebrate with feasts and activities of their own during each holiday-themed visit.

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SANTEE’S STARLIGHT CIRCLE HOLIDAY LIGHTS WILL STILL TWINKLE DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson 

(Photo, left, courtesy of the Starlight Circle Facebook page)

Nov. 13, 2020 (Santee) Santee’s Starlight Circle, a yearly holiday tradition of Christmas lights and decorations, will continue spreading holiday cheer during the pandemic.  Many might find comfort in being able to enjoy this holiday tradition in a social distanced manner – driving Glendon Circle in their cars.

“It’s been a trying year for everyone and hopefully our neighborhood will help brighten things up a bit,” said a 30-year resident of Starlight Circle Jerry Mills. “It seems that viewing from one’s car, rather than on foot, would be the way to go this year.”  

“As far as dealing with COVID-19, we would ask people to follow whatever guidelines are being given by local, state, and national authorities and be respectful of each other,” he said.

Mills noted that it is not an organized event but a “”neighborhood that for decades has decorated and drawn large crowds. So, there are no rules and no one in charge of anything.  It just happens, which is pretty special in itself.” 


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HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS 2020

Photo by Jill Wellington via Pixabay

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This holiday season is shaping up differently due to the pandemic – but several East County locations are still finding ways to celebrate the season with drive-through holiday light displays, socially distanced celebrating, and virtual visits with Santa. 

La Mesa Holiday in the Village Dec. 5

La Mesa will host its annual Holiday in the Village on December 5th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., including a holiday craft market, with modifications approved by county health officials.


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LA MESA HOLIDAY IN THE VILLAGE RETURNS WITH SOCIALLY DISTANCED HOLIDAY CRAFT MARKET DEC. 5

Source: La Mesa Village Association

November 12, 2020 (La Mesa) -- With the uncertainty of tradition for the 2020 Holiday Season, the La Mesa Village Association is proud to announce the return of the beloved 5th Annual Holiday in the Village! In a modified Craft Market format that has been approved by County and City officials, we will once again be ringing in holiday cheer for everyone far and near!

On Saturday, December 5th in the La Mesa Village from 10 a.m.to 9 p.m., friends and family will have the chance to take part in the FREE festive fun with holiday music, craft vendors, a food court, and a unique holiday photo station for classic joy and cheer!


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HOLIDAY LIGHTS EXTRAVAGANZA AT LANTERN CREST IN SANTEE

 

East County News Service

November 11, 2020 (Santee) – Lantern Crest Senior Living in Santee will transform into a drive-through holiday extavaganza open to the public each Thursday through Sunday night in December  from 6 to 8 p. m.(except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Guests will see holiday displays and light shows, all from the comfort and safety of their cars. Admission is free. There will also be a drive-up Santa's Workshop to purchase some hot cocoa, apple cider, cheesecakes bites and more, as well as a photo booth. All the proceeds will go to the Lantern Crest Foundation, which benefits low-income seniors in the San Diego area.


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NOAH HOMES' ENCHANTED VILLAGE TRANSFORMS INTO A DRIVE-THRU HOLIDAY CELEBRATION DEC. 18-23

East County News Service

November 10, 2020 (Spring Valley) - The Enchanted Village is back in San Diego for its third year with modifications made to accommodate social distancing guidelines. The holiday extravaganza, typically a walk-through of the eight-acre grounds of Noah Homes in Spring Valley, is now a COVID compliant drive-thru experience.  


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LA MESA HISTORICAL HOME TOUR GOES VIRTUAL WITH HOMES THROUGH THE AGES OVER THE PAST CENTURY

By Miriam Raftery

November 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – On November 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., La Mesa Historical Society invites you to join President Jim Newland for a look back at the first 14 years of the La Mesa Home Tour.  This free event celebrates the city’s architectural gems from the Gilded Age to the Space Age.  It will be streamed live on the Society's Facebook page. RSVP to receive a reminder notice.


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AMID PANDEMIC, PARKWAY PLAZA OFFERS VIRTUAL AND IN PERSON SANTA VISITS

East County News Service

November 9, 2020 (El Cajon) – Visiting Santa is a treasured holiday tradition. This year, despite a pandemic, Parkway Plaza regional shopping mall in El Cajon is making sure that every child can see Santa. With help from the elves and partners at Cherry Hill Programs, you can either visit Santa at the mall or online now through December 24.

For in-person Santa visits and photos, you can make an appointment here:  https://www.whereissanta.com/#4/41.88/-87.62. Walk-ins will be taken on a space available basis and children won't be sititng on Santa's lap this holiday season, due to social distancing needs.  

Or visit  createholidaymagic.com  to browse and schedule your child's personalized virtual holiday experience.


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VETERANS DAY 2020 EVENTS: VIRTUAL, DRIVE-INS, AND SOCIALLY DISTANCED ACTIVITIES

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Nov. 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) Veteran’s Day, this Wednesday, Nov. 11, can be celebrated in East County and all over San Diego County in a myriad of ways. Some events are strictly for active duty military, veterans and/or spouses and families, while others offer a way for all of us to honor and celebrate our military members.

The pandemic has changed many local event calendars with a number of entities planning on picking up their events again in 2021. However, there are still many to enjoy virtually or in a socially distanced manner.

El Cajon’s Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan will be holding a golf tournament.  Local military teams, competing on 36 teams from local military commands, will compete on the links.

Fleet Week San Diego has numerous activities such as the Innovation Zone, art exhibits, student stem day, scattered and scheduled around the region with the nucleus of the activities set up at the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego. The activities span the dates of Nov. 9-15. 

Additionally, if any East County residents wish to participate in the boat parade, they should register by Nov. 11.  


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