DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS MARCH 24 - APRIL 15

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UPDATE:  Peg Leg Smith Liars Contest date changed to April 1.

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East County News Service

March 22, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - This week’s Destination East County includes lilac festival, an extreme hiking challenge, live music at local wineries, and a street fair with carnival rides.

Plus, we’ll tell you about coming attractions including Julian Gold Rush Days, Sweet Pea Day, a Taste of Julian, a harp concert, a harmonica festival, and Easter events including an Eggstravaganza at Santee Lakes and a Bunny Train ride at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo

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

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/.

EL CAPITAN EXTREME HIKING CHALLENGE MARCH 25

Are you up for a rugged climb?  You’re invited to participate in an extreme hiking challenge at El Capitan in Lakeside, one of the most difficult trails locally on March 25tth from noon to 7 pm.  You can hike all or part of the trail with a ranger.

Bring a gallon and snacks, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen for this tough 12-mile hike to the top of El Cajon Mountain, also known as El Cap, where you’ll find spectacular panoramic views. The trail includes several thousand feet of elevation gain and loss, with some steep and slippery sections.  Please RSVP by calling 619-561-0580.

JIM EARP MARCH 25 AT SAN PASQUAL WINERY IN LA MESA

Jim Earp, a finger-style guitarist, will perform original material in a Hawaiian slack-key-meets Celtic guitar vein on Saturday, March 25th from 7 to 10 p.m. at the San Pasqual Winery tasting room in La Mesa’s downtown village.  He will also sing a host of songs from the Police to 70s folk rock a la Neil Young and James Taylor. For details visit www.SanPasqualWinery.com.

LIVE MUSIC AT WINE WORKS IN LA MESA MARCH 25

The Kathryn Cloward band will present a live musical performance at Wine Works in La Mesa on Saturday, March 25th from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wine Works is located at 8167 Center Street in La Mesa. For more information visit www.LaMesaWineWorks.com..

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. 

NOW FOR A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS…

JULIAN GOLD RUSH DAYS APRIL 1-2

Julian Gold Rush Days celebrates the discovery of gold in this mountain community and invites visitors to learn more about its history with a weekend of entertainment including gold panning, tomahawk throwing, candle dipping and more on April 1st and 2nd.

Located at The Julian Mining Company in Wynola, the old-fashioned mining camp will offer re-enactors, an arts and crafts market, food and drink, a petting zoo, pony rides, and plenty of family fun.

For more information visit www.juliangoldrushdays.com.

HARP CONCERT APRIL 2 AT MISSION TRAILS

The San Diego Harp Society will present this annual concert featuring young local harp players at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor’s Center on Sunday, April 2nd at 3 p.m.  Seating is first come, first serve.  For more information, visit www.MTRP.org.

PEG LEG SMITH LIARS’ CONTEST APRIL 1

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.

BUNNY TRAINS APRIL 8, 9 and 15 IN CAMPO

Looking for a new way to celebrate the Easter holiday with your family?  Hop aboard the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s Bunny Train complete with a train ride, a visit from the Easter Bunny, and an Easter egg hunt as you travel through our beautiful back country.

Bunny Train rides are available on April 8th, 9th and 10th with several departure times. You can purchase tickets at the Campo depot. For details visit the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum website at www.PSRM.org.

EGGSTRAVAGANZA APRIL 15 AT SANTEE LAKES

The City of Santee, and Santee Lakes present the 14th annual Spring Eggstravaganza at Santee Lakes Recreation on Saturday, April 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Lake number 5.

Kids of all ages can enjoy a variety of games and activities including carnival rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, inflatable jumps, spring crafts and live entertainment by Primo DJ. 

Egg hunts run continuously during the event on Egg Hunt Island for children ages 4 through 8 and in the Egg hunt basket for those ages 3 and under.  Parents, please be sure and bring your child’s basket for all of those eggs!

Food will be available to purchase on site, or families are welcome to bring a picnic of their own to enjoy at the Park. For details visit www.SanteeLakes.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.

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!