DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS MARCH 11 - APRIL 8

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East County News Service

March 8, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes a honey festival, TOMATOMANIA, open house at a camel dairy, a healthy living fair and a stargazing party.

Plus, we’ll tell you about coming attractions including the Circle of Art show, a lilac festival, a piano and violin concert, a street fair with carnival rides, the famous Peg Leg Smith liar’s competition, Sweet Pea days, a Taste of Julian, and a chili cook-off with a hotrod contest.

So scroll down for all of these events and many others!

HONEY FESTIVAL MARCH 11 IN ALPINE

Alpine was once known as the honey production capital of the world.  Now here’s the buzz:  On Saturday, March 11 from 10 to 4, Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce will present the first annual Honey Festival to celebrate the region’s sweet success.

The event will include food, vintage vendors and kids’ activities. The Honey Festival will have six event locations; park at Joan JacQueen Middle School, where shuttles leave every 15 minutes.

To get the buzz on all Honey Festival activities, you can visit www.AlpineChamber.com.

TOMATOMANIA!  MARCH 11 AND 12 AT THE GARDEN

California's largest tomato seedling sale is back and the Garden at Cuyamaca College is the only San Diego location this spring.  TOMATOMANIA features hundreds of heirloom and hybrid tomato varieties, expert advice, and the accessories to grow tomatoes in your own backyard.  

The event will be held March 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a special presentation at 11 a.m. each day on best growing practices.

Admission to TOMATOMANIA! is FREE for all tomato lovers. Free Docent-led tours of The Garden also offered at 10:00am each day.

For more information, visit www.TheGarden.org.

OASIS CAMEL DAIRY OPEN HOUSE AND TOUR MARCH 11-12

The Oasis Camel Dairy will host an open house and tour on March 11 and 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. Friendly farm animals, curious camels and an animal show featuring performing parrots, racing turkeys, “working” farm dogs and majestic camels starts at 1:30.

Guests can ride camels, pet and get great selfies while they feed treats to these gentle giants. You can also visit a mini farm animal petting zoo or shop for camel milk chocolate, lotion and soaps in the gift shop. For more information, visit www.cameldairy.com.

SPRING INTO HEALTHY LIVING MARCH 15 AT THE YMCA

You’re invited to Spring into Healthy Living on March 15th from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the McGrath Family YMCA (12006 Campo Road) in Spring Valley. The health and wellness fair for seniors will include free health screenings, speakers and information on how to avoid scams, driver safety and fire safety, and more.

Health screenings will include blood pressure, balance, body mass index, a hearing test, stroke screening, check your mood, and more. You can also learn about senior-friendly exercise demonstrations, senior resources, and enjoy a healthy continental breakfast.

The healthy living event is organized by the AARP, East County Chamber of Commerce, Grossmont Healthcare District.  For details and breakfast reservations (free!), you can call 1-877-926-8300 or visit the East County Chamber’s website at http://business.eastcountychamber.org and click on their calendar.

STAR PARTY AT SYCAMORE GOODEN RESERVE MARCH 17

A star party will be held at the Sycamore Gooden reserve in Lakeside (13899 Highway 67) on March 17th from 6 to 8 p.m.

You’re invited to join volunteer astronomers from the San Diego Astronomy Association and County Park staff for a night under the stars, viewing our galaxy using the same technology used by professionals to witness out-of-this world phenomenon.

Inclement weather could cancel this event. For more information, you can call (8580513-4737.

NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

CIRCLE OF ART SHOW MARCH 18-19 IN BORREGO SPRINGS

The 28th annual Circle of Art Show and Art Sale celebrating art in the desert will take place Saturday March 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs.

Over 60 artists will display their works.  There will also be live music performances and foods available. Plus this is an ideal time of year to watch for spring wildflowers blooming across the Anza Borrego Desert. For details, see www.Circle-of-Art.org.

LILAC FESTIVAL MARCH 25-26 AT FORT CROSS IN SANTA YSABEL

Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures in Santa Ysabel (4425 Highway 78) invites you to savor springtime at a Lilac Festival on March 25th and 26th.  

Stroll through organic, sweet-smelling lilac groves in the mountains near Julian, or hop on a hayride to enjoy views on a scenic nature loop.  Plus, you’ll find an array of unusual activities reflecting the community’s rich pioneer heritage.

Jesse Cross, dance caller and music man, will play live music and lead any willing participants through square dancing and hootenanny dance steps.  Listen to a lively hoedown, or pick up an instrument and join the jog band.

You can also try your skill at tomahawk throwing, visit a petting zoo, get your face painted, make a fairy garden, paint a flower vase to keep and dip your own lilac-themed candle the old-fashioned way.   Potted lilacs and fragrant lilac stems will be available for purchase.

For full details on the Lilac Festival, you can visit https://www.fortcross.com/.

VIOLIN AND PIANO CONCERT MARCH 22

Violinist Alexandra Keegan and pianist Justin Gray will perform sonatas for violin and piano at Cuyamaca College’s performing arts theatre on March 22nd at 7 p.m.

Keegan is a Cuyamaca College instructor and conductor of the East County Youth Symphony. Gray is the music director of the Welk Resorts - San Diego Theatre, as well as the chairman and founder of the San Diego Interfaith Choir and Orchestra.

For tickets and details, visit www.cuyamaca.edu/performingarts.

CARNIVAL RIDES, MUSIC AND MORE AT ROLANDO STREET FAIR MARCH 26

On Sunday, March 26th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the 21st annual Rolando Street Fair will be held on Rolando Blvd., south of El Cajon Boulevard.  The event includes over 130 vendors with handcrafts, food, carnival rides and kid's activities. 

Live music bands will include Len Rainey and the Midnight Players, Trey Tosh & The Band Called Life, The Routine, Paul Cannon IRON SAGE WOOD, and Cassidy and the Music. Nearly 15,000 people attend this family friendly event each year. 

PEG LEG SMITH LIARS’ CONTEST APRIL1

Every year on the first Saturday of April – the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park attracts story tellers from all over the globe to compete in the annual Peg Leg Smith Liars Contest. This year’s event will be held on April 1st, starting at dusk.

Thomas L. Smith, better known as 'Peg Leg' Smith in the 1800s, was a mountain man, prospector, and spinner of tall tales. Legends regarding his lost gold mine have grown through the years, and countless people have searched the desert for its fabulous wealth. The mine could be within a few miles of this monument.

All comers are welcome to enter the contest. Sign up is on arrival at the contest site, which is held at the Pegleg Smith memorial, about seven miles east of Borrego Springs along Route S-22.   Specifically, the storytelling contest takes place on Henderson Canyon Road, 1,000 feet north of Pegleg Road.

Presentations are done in order of sign up. Stories should be of no more than five minutes in length--another little joke. Tall tales should be about lost gold and/or Pegleg Smith. Costumes and other original touches are always appreciated by the crowd and judges.



For more information on this annual contest, visit: http://www.borregospringschamber.com/pegleg_liars-contest.html

SWEET PEA DAY APRIL 8 IN FLINN SPRINGS

It’s Sweet Pea Day at Summers Past Farms in Flinn Springs on Saturday, April 8th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can cut your own bouquet starting at 11 a.m. – until the beautiful blooms are gone. 

You’re invited to weave through a towering sweet pea maze in full glory. You can also picnic on a grassy area or enjoy live music in the coffee bar’s shady pavilion while savoring springtime in East County.  For details and directions, visit www.SummersPastFarms.com.

HOT RODS AND CHILI COOKOFF APRIL 8

The Jamul Kiwanis Club is revving up for its 9th annual Hot Rod and Chili Cook-off on April 8th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pio Pico/ Thousand Trails in Jamul.  Guests can savor chili tasting, check out classic hot rods, cool off in a beer garden, or vie for prizes in drawings and a silent auction.  For more information, you can visit www.JamulKiwanis.org.

TASTE OF JULIAN APRIL 8

The 9th annual Taste of Julian will be held on April 8th, serving up a rural dining adventure.  Taste of Julian is a self-guided culinary tour of unique restaurants, wineries and breweries.  For tickets and details, go to www.VisitJulian.com.

That’s all for this week!

If you have an event you’d like added to our calendar, or if you would like to sponsor the Destination East County column on our website, or the Destination East County show on KNSJ radio, you can contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.  Destination East County is the most-read feature on our website.

We’ll be back next week with more festivals, events and attractions in San Diego’s East County!

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Government Openess and Transparency

This week I've been to our 89.1 KNSJ syndication with Rebecca Williamson, and from City Councils to water boards to school districts, thank you to East County Magazine's sustaining contributors, including Grossmont Healthcare District and SDG&E/Sempra