Festivals of the Month

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.

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.” 

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.

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!

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.  

COUNTY TO HOLD VIRTUAL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL SUNDAY

 
By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo credit: Jonathan Goetz
October 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County’s Parks and Recreation Department is holding a virtual Dia de los Muertos Festival from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, that will feature regional dance performances, a cultural story time and a “how-to” arts and crafts workshop.
The online celebration, which will also feature a virtual tour of the Rancho Guajome Adobe, will take place on the County Park’s YouTube channel — Youtube.com/SDCountyparks — and everyone is invited to join in! The festivities will be conducted in English and Spanish.

PARKWAY PLAZA HOSTS DRIVE-THRU BOO HALLOWEEN SUNDAY OCT. 25

Drive-Thru Boo Halloween

East County News Service

October 24, 2020 (El Cajon) - Parkway Plaza, in partnership with East County Young Life and North Island Credit Union, is hosting a Drive-Thru Boo Halloween event on Sunday, October 25 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.in the outer parking lot between Dick’s Sporting Goods and Wells Fargo. This is a no -contact, family-friendly drive-thru event where guests are invited to bring their little ghosts and goblins to the mall parking lot to receive a fun Halloween treat bag. 

PARKS CALIFORNIA VIRTUAL GUIDED TOURS GO BEHIND THE SCENES AT ANZA-BORREGO DESERT

Source: Parks California

October 13, 2020 (Anza-Borrego Desert) -- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park® encompasses some of the most diverse desert landscapes in the world – and now it will serve as the backdrop for a virtual California State Park adventure, ParkSpeak. On October 15, Parks California will connect community members across the state with a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of this state park to explore a rich archaeological heritage from the Kumeyaay and Cahuilla tribes. 

DRIVE-THROUGH HALLOWEEN TRICK OR TREAT WITH LA MESA POLICE AND HEARTLAND FIRE

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 8, 2020 (La Mesa) – Spooked by COVID-19?  La Mesa Police Department and Heartland Fire, which serves La Mesa, invites children to don costumes and enjoy a Halloween Drive-Thru Trick or Trick event on Saturday, October 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the police station parking lot.

PUMPKIN EXPRESS ROLLS OUT HALLOWEEN RIDES -- WITH SOME CHANGES

East County News Service

October 6, 2020 (Campo) -- Join the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association in its annual Pumpkin Express Halloween Celebration.  Come ride decorated vintage railcars through the San Diego county mountains as fall descends upon Campo, CA.  Walk through a themed Display Building complete with Halloween scenes, a pumpkin patch, and our creepy cast of ghosts and ghouls.

HAPPY HAWTKOBER: COUNTY HOSTS VIRTUAL SERIES ON BIRDS OF PREY

By San Diego County Parks and Recreation

October 3, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - Throughout the month of October – or as we like to call it, Hawktober – we will be airing educational videos on local birds of prey. Learn where they live, what they eat, how they hunt and other survival mechanisms that allow them to thrive throughout this region. 

HAUNTED HAYRIDES AND SPOOKY NIGHTS AT FORT CROSS OLD TIMEY ADVENTURES

East County News Service
 
September 25, 2020 (Santa Ysabel) – Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel, just outside of Julian, invites you to share some “seasonal spooky fun, if you dare” on special events Oct. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 29. Haunted hayrides can be reserved at 8 or 8:30 p.m. each evening.

JULIAN AUTUMN JUBILEE: WEEKENDS NOW THROUGH OCTOBER

By Miriam Raftery 
 
Image by Rebekka D. from Pixabay 
 
September 25, 2020 (Santa Ysabel) – Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel invites you to join in some socially distanced fun at the Julian Autumn Jubilee. The festivities will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday from late September through October 25. 

LA MESA OKTOBERFEST GOES VIRTUAL OCT. 2-4 WITH STREAMING OOMPAH BANDS, BREWMASTER TASTINGS AND PARTY PACKS TO GO

Now you can lounge in your lederhosen at home, or shop specials in the village

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 25, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Since 1973, the La Mesa Oktoberfest has been attracting Oktoberfest revelers from across San Diego and Southern California for three free days of festive live music, German food, and steins filled to the brim with German and Craft Beer! In light of  COVID-19 safety protocols, the La Mesa Oktoberfest this year brings you a reimagined weekend of festivities, keeping with this La Mesa tradition with a free La Mesa Oktoberfest Online that you can savor at home—or an optional “Party Pack” upgrade.

SAN DIEGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL GOES VIRTUAL SEPT. 17-27

East County News Service

 

September 11, 2020 (San Diego) – The 27th annual San Diego Film Festival hosted by Media Arts starts Thursday, Sept. 17 and runs through Sept. 27. This year, you can watch films from the comfort of home. View a video with some of the participating filmmakers. 

2020 RAMONA ART & WINE FESTIVAL EXPANDS TO 3-DAY PROGRESSIVE EVENT NOV. 6-8

East County News Service

 

September 1, 2020 (Ramona) -- The 8th annual Ramona Art & Wine Festival is expanding to a progressive Festival from one day at one location, to three days at six Ramona wineries, with wine tasting, gourmet bites, silent auction, and art and vendor exhibitors at each participating winery on Friday to Sunday, November 6th to 8th, 2020.

WHILE MAJOR EVENT PLANNERS RALLY TO REQUEST AID AS SHUTDOWNS CONTINUE, TRIBES RESUME EVENTS, EXEMPT FROM STATE RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Due to state and county restrictions on gatherings of any size, most theaters, concert halls and other large event sites remained closed to prevent spread of COVID-19.  On Aug. 13, the San Diego Event Coalition held an “empty venue” rally to call not for reopening due to safety concerns, but for aid to assist the industry.  

EAST COUNTY VIRTUAL CANDIDATES FORUM AUG. 13: ASK QUESTIONS OF THOSE RUNNING FOR CONGRESS AND COUNTY SUPERVISOR

By Miriam Raftery

August 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – For the first time in over two decades, East County has open seats with no incumbents running in the 50th Congressional District and the County Board of Supervisors 2nd district.

East County Magazine is proud to serve as media partner for a virtual candidate forum moderated by the League of Women Voters and presented in collaboration with a coalition of community organizations . The forum will take place on Thursday, August 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.  You can watch and ask questions by registering through Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_goZoodK_TdC5GNjjhZo5xw .

All candidates running are confirmed to participate.  Supervisor candidates Steve Vaus and Joel Anderson will square off at 6 p.m., followed by Congressional Candidates Darrell Issa and Ammar Campa Najjar at 7 p.m.

Community Action Service & Advocacy (CASA) is hosting the event in collaboration with the East Region Collaborative Network, East County Homeless Task Force, Ninth District PTA, and media partner East County Magazine.

HIKING, EXPLORING, LEARNING, FUN; LOTS OF FREE STUFF TO DO IN JULY

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photos: Courtesy County of San Diego Communications Office, (Photo, left) at Waterfront Park's south fountain

July 9, 2020 (San Diego County) - It’s the summer of coronavirus — and to keep it from spreading we’re staying home more, foregoing big vacations and looking for new ways to entertain and educate kids who have been home for months.

Well, here’s some good news. There are still some great, fun, free/or inexpensive things that kids, families and adults can do in July. And we’ve got a list!

SAN DIEGO HUMANE SOCIETY OFFERS NEW, VIRTUAL ANIMAL ADVENTURE CAMPS

East County News Service

July 8, 2020  (San Diego) — San Diego Humane Society is offering virtual Animal Adventure Camp for the first time this summer to ensure a safe and healthy experience for all campers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kids going into second through fifth grades can enjoy seven weekly virtual camps through Aug. 7 and experience the fun of Animal Adventure Camp from the comfort of their own homes.

WHERE TO FIND FIREWORKS IN EAST COUNTY THIS JULY 4TH

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Due to COVID-19, several of East County’s most popular 4th of July celebrations have been cancelled. But several others have revamped to provide fireworks displays with social distancing and/or virtual celebrations.

CHILDREN’S NATURE RETREAT REOPENS AFTER COVID-19 SHUTDOWN: ANIMAL RESCUE NEEDS VISITORS AND DONATIONS

 

Source: Children’s Nature Retreat

June 23, 2020 (Alpine) -- The Children’s Nature Retreat, a 20-acre animal sanctuary in Alpine with 140-plus domesticated animals, is reopening to guests.

The animal sanctuary is open by appointment only, limited to 50 people. Guests are required to wear masks at the entrance, and if they come within 6-feet of anyone outside of their family/household; visitors can roam the outdoor property on the self-guided tour without masks.

VIRTUAL CAMPFIRE CHATS WITH ANZA-BORREGO PARK RANGERS KICK OFF THIS WEEKEND

 

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East County News Service

Photo by Kirtland Smith: Verdin in Ocotillo

June 18, 2020 (Borrego Springs) – The Anza Borrego Foundation is planning five virtual Campfire chats with retired Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Rangers and Superintendents, streamed live from various Park locations.

In 30-minute segments, each ranger will share stories, focused on their favorite park topics such as birding, bighorn sheep, land conservation and military history of the Park.

ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS: SAN DIEGO ZOO AND SAFARI PARK SET TO REOPEN JUNE 20

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Roaring back after the COVID-19 shut down of the past three months, the world famous San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Pasqual are set to reopen  to the public on June 20.  However, admissions will be limited and hours are reduced to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS IN MID-JUNE: BUTTERFLY RELEASES PLANNED

East County News Service
 
June 11, 2020 (El Cajon) -- As of June 15, The Water Conservation Garden reopens for members and reopens to the public on June 16, but with a small admission fee for non-members. All visitors in June will receive free ice cream and popsicles, as well as having the opportunity to visit the Dorcas E. Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion to view butterflies throughout June. Butterfly release dates are planned June 15, 19 and 27.

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