Festivals of the Month

LILAC FESTIVAL IN FULL BLOOM AT FORT CROSS IN SANTA YSABEL DURING APRIL

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

 

April 2, 2021 (Santa Ysabel) – Spring is in the air – and lilacs are in full bloom.  The annual Lilac Festival at Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel returns each weekend this month.  The hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 12 noon to 5 p.m.

 

"Hop on the hayride and enjoy the views on a scenic nature loop, try your skill with some tomahawk throwing, visit our friends at the petting zoo, enjoy a lively hoedown or pick up an instrument and join the jug band, paint a flower vase to keep, dip your very own lilac themed candle the old fashioned way, and so much more,” the Fort Cross website states.  "Our very own Jesse Cross, dance caller and music man extraordinaire will be playing live during various times to lead any willing kids and adults through the most fun jug band hootenanny you ever did see!”

EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES IN EAST COUNTY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

 

(Photo by Miriam Raftery)

April 1, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Easter Sunday church services will be offered in person, at sunrise, and virtually. Other service times and activities will start on Good Friday, April 2 and run through-out the weekend. Some churches, during the COVID19 pandemic, are offering mixes of how to celebrate the Easter season. 

The traditional sunrise service for La Mesa’s Mt. Helix will be live-streamed at 7:00 a.m. This year’s service, virtual due to COVID, will be presented by Faith Chapel. The links for viewing the services will be added to: https://www.mthelixpark.org/easter-sunrise-service  according to their website. 

JURASSIC QUEST DRIVE THRU AT DEL MAR FAIRGROUNDS MARCH 26 – APRIL 4

Guests invited to “feed” new 50-foot Spinosaurus and San Diego Food Bank with nonperishable drop-off donations

 

East County News Service

 

March 28, 2021 (Del Mar) – Jurassic Quest Drive Thru, the nation’s largest touring dinosaur exhibit, opened today for an encore showing at Del Mar Fairgrounds through April 4 following a sold-out visit in January. The traveling dinosaur attraction has welcomed its 2 millionth visitor and today kicks off a food drive benefiting the San Diego Food Bank (donations accepted on site March 26-April 4). 

CESAR CHAVEZ HISTORY AT ANZA-BORREGO HONORED ON MARCH 31

East County News Service

March 27, 2021 (Borrego Springs) -- Did you know? Cesar Chavez has important history in Borrego Springs and in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). To honor this history, bilingual interpretive panels were devised that depict these historic events, a joint project between Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and High School students at Borrego Springs High School. 

MORNING GLORY BRUNCH FROG RACE GOES VIRTUAL TO BENEFIT ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE’S CENTER ON APRIL 17

East County News Service

March 15, 2021 (El Cajon) -- St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC) will host its signature Morning Glory Brunch Frog Race virtually this year.  The Virtual Morning Glory Brunch Frog Race will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2021 and will be celebrating the event’s 20th anniversary. All proceeds benefit St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, which educates and empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. 

The community is encouraged to participate in the frog race by purchasing rubber frogs to be entered in the race. Volunteer “Frogettes” will splash from the end of the pool deck, without touching the frogs, to assist the frogs in reaching the finish line. Winners of the Frog Race will be announced during a live streaming event, and all proceeds from purchased frogs will benefit SMSC’s Garden and Aquatic Programs.   

FIRE PITS AVAILABLE FOR RENT At LAKE JENNINGS

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 10, 2021 (Lakeside) – What could be cozier than a lakeside fire on a springtime evening?  Grab your marshmallows and chocolate for S’mores, roast hot dogs or get your best campfire stories ready – now you can rent a fire pit at Lake Jennings in Lakeside.

JOURNALISM PROF DEAN NELSON LEADS SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB’S WRITING SEMINAR, FREE TO PUBLIC, MARCH 16

East County News Service

March 8, 2021 (San Diego) -- Dean Nelson, founder and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), will share his favorite writing tips for the San Diego Press Club’s next “Write Better Right Now,” a one-hour, writing improvement webinar from 6 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 16. The free webinar, held over the Zoom video-conferencing platform, is open to the public. To register, visit www.sdpressclub.org.

OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO MARCH 5-12 HIGHLIGHTS ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN IN SEVEN NEIGHBORHOODS

OH! San Diego offers free, behind-the-scenes access to San Diego’s unique architectural and cultural gems through virtual, self-guided and socially distanced activities

Source: San Diego Architectural Foundation

 

March 4, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) announces the sixth annual Open House San Diego (O  H! San Diego) architecture and urban design event taking place on March 5 through 12. The program offers San Diegans a rare behind-the-scenes look at some of our region’s most impactful buildings and public spaces and encourages participants to discover something new.

 

In the spirit of inclusivity and a renewed focus on community, this year’s event will highlight a diverse mix of seven neighborhoods including Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, City Heights, La Mesa, National City, San Marcos and Southeastern San Diego.

 

Participants are invited to take part in a self-guided walking tour of La Mesa Village via the ArchiMaps app. Participants can also download and print a PDF Walking Map from the OH! San Diego website. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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!”

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. 

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 .

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

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.”

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.

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.

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/

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.

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.

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.

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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