DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS MARCH 16 - APRIL 15

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East County News Service

March 14, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, a Circle of Art Show in Borrego Springs, a Lilac Festival in Santa Ysabel, as well as a violin and piano concert at Cuyamaca College.

Plus, we’ll tell you about coming attractions including an April Fool’s week favorite: the Peg Leg Smith Liar’s contest, Sweet Pea Day in Flinn Springs, Hot Rods and a Chili Cookoff in Jamul, the Rolando Street Fair, a Taste of Julian, Spring Harp Fest in La Mesa, and help for the homeless with La Mesa Conversations.

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

IRISH MUSIC AT HOOLEY’S ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grill will feature Irish musical entertainment on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.  At the Grossmont Center location, Tony Cummins, two-time nominee for Irish Music Association awards, will perform at 8:30 p.m. At Hooley’s Rancho San Diego location, Lexington Green will perform, also at 8:30 p.m. 

With authentic Irish food and drinks, Hooley’s was recently named the best Irish pub outside of Ireland by an association of Irish pub owners worldwide.  For details, you can visit www.hooleys.com.

ST. PATRICK’S MENUS AT JULIAN TEA MARCH 16-20

You can savor a St. Patrick’s Day green-themed cottage classic tea at Julian Tea (2124 Third St., Julian).  From Thursday March 16th through Monday March 20th, the special set menu starts with potato leek soup and pumpkin soup with mini cheese scone, followed by corned beef and green-themed finger sandwiches and a Shamrock scone with curd, jam and whipped cream, plus dessert. A children’s tea is also available.   For details and reservations, you can visit http://juliantea.com/.

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.

NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

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

CHOSIN BAND OF BROTHERS APRIL 6 IN LEMON GROVE

Lemon Grove Historical Society’s next History Alive event will present three members of the “Chosin Few,” veterans from the battle of Chosin during the Korean War, a 17-day battle fought in sub-zero weather against all odds.  You can hear their stories and see artifacts from the battlefield on April 6th at 7 p.m. in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3207 Olive, Lemon Grove. For more information, you can call 619-460-4353.

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.

SPRING HARP FEST APRIL 15 IN LA MESA

The 18th annual Spring Harp Fest, showcasing harmonica players musical jam fests will be held on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Harry Griffen Park (9550 Milden St.) in La Mesa.  Donations from this event are used to purchase harmonicas for local schools.  Get the lineup of talent scheduled at www.SpringHarpFest.org.

HELP THE HOMELESS AT LA MESA CONVERSATIONS APRIL 15

Homelessness in L Mesa will be the topic for the next La Mesa Conversation mixer on Thursday, March 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Johnny B’s restaurant, (83993 La Mesa Blvd.)

The guest speaker will be Lois Knowlton, Homelessness and Affordable Housing Advocate at La Mesa First United Methodist Church.  Guests are encouraged to bring items for the church outreach team’s  "Fresh Start Saturday" program, an opportunity for our homeless or near homeless neighbors to receive a free breakfast, take a shower, receive clothes or shoes to wear, get a haircut, and take a bagged lunch to-go.

Items the Fresh Start Saturday team can use include: non-perishable food items, bottled water, and clothing items suitable to wear for job interviews. 

For reservations (free) visit www.LaMesaConversations.org.

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!