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September 4, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—This Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of a fun-filled month of festivals and other fantastic events in San Diego’s East County. Here’s our guide to the year’s most diverse array yet of unique and mostly free or low –cost activities.


Start by rocking out to the season’s last Concerts on the Green in El Cajon tonight. Then savor the waning days of Indian summer at a Native American pow-wow at Barona Reservation Friday through Sunday, Sept. 4-6.  On Saturday, Sept. 5, bare your toes and jump in for the Julian Grape Stomp at the Menghini Winery (photo)—then cap off the night at Ramona Main Stage, where Back to the 80z presents a Prom Night concert.  Can't get enough of all that wine-making merry-making?  Ramona-based Hacienda de Las Rosas will hold a "Stomping of the Grapes" fest outside its Old Town tasting room on Labor Day, Sept. 7.


Next week, Cajon Classic Cruises revs up on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Next weekend, Sycuan hosts its pow-wow, where tribal dancers and drummers from across the nation compete for $125,000 in prize money Sept. 11-13.


On Saturday, Sept. 12, East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery and KCBQ’s Rick Amato will co-moderate a Sheriff’s candidate debate at the East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon at 3 p.m. Also on the 12th, El Cajon hosts a fire expo, La Mesa holds its “Sustain La Mesa” environmental festival, and the Heritage of the Americas Museum offers a lively presentation on explorers Lewis & Clark.


Put on your dancing shoes—or just come cheer on contestants at the San Diego Senior Olympics ballroom dance competition Sept. 13 at Cottonwood in El Cajon. If running for office is more your sport, check out Run Women Run, a candidate recruitment fest for qualified women.


Later in the month, help beautiful our community at Lake Murray Sept. 19 as part of Coastal Cleanup Day. Then head to the mountains for some good old fashioned pluckin’ and strummin’ at the Julian Bluegrass Festival Sept. 19-20, sponsored by the Julian Lions Club. Or join the Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta at the Spring Valley Library on the 19th. Bargain hunters won’t want to miss the El Cajon Elks Parking Lot Sale on the same date.


Tale a swing--all for a good cause! September 12 is the deadline to register for the “Play to Protect” golf tournament held Sept. 26 to benefit Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council. On Sept. 24, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce hosts its golf tournament to benefit Camp Hope – followed closely by Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber’s “It’s in the Hole” golf tournament October 16—early bird rates are good through Sept. 15.


Want to pick up a good deal on an unusual gift item –such as a fossil or gemstone? Check out five simultaneous sales at the Heritage of the Americas Museum at Cuyamaca College on September 25th.


Also on the 26th, the YMCA hosts its now-legendary “Urban Branding” event to raise funds for the new McGrath Family YMCA in Rancho San Diego.


September’s finale is the Menghini Arts & Music Festival Sept. 26-27—two days of art, music, food and wine-tasting on the outskirts of the historic mountain town of Julian.


Check our Calendar and our Festivals sections for details on these and other great events—including free medical seminars and personal safety classes in addition to fun and festive celebrations.

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