Best of East County

The Best of East County

WILD WINTER WEATHER

Snow blanketed westbound Interstate 8 near the Tecate
divide

A tree limb collapsed onto a CAL FIRE vehicle at White Star Station off
Tierra Del Sol in Boulevard. The engine company had just returned from
battling a structure fire on the Campo Indian reservation.

December 17, 2008 (San Diego’s East County) — Cal Fire
Captain Nick Schuler forwarded these photos taken 12-16-08 in one of the heaviest
snowstorms to hit East County in recent memory.

HO, HO, HO!  EAST COUNTY LEADERS CELEBRATE THE SEASON

East County's movers and shakers got into the holiday spirit at parties throughout our region.  

Valerie Harrison December 15, 2008 (Rancho San Diego) — Jamul Chamber of Commerce president Valerie Harrison donned reindeer antlers to conduct last week's meeting, where comedian Russ T. Nailz provided comic relief.   Members brought toys for the East County Toy & Food Drive”as did attendees at a First Friday holiday breakfast hosted by the East County Chamber of Commerce.
Valerie Harrison, president, Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce

POWAY FARMERS MARKET AND CRAFTS FAIR OPEN TWO MORE WEEKENDS BEFORE HOLIDAY

Photos by Thea Skinner

December 2008 (Poway) — The Poway
Farmers’ Market and Boardwalk Craft Market features fresh product and
other products from local farms, as well as regional crafts including
pottery, weaving, jewelry and much more.

Located in Old Poway Park at 14134 Midland Road, the craft market and
farmer’s market will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. December 13 and 20.
Closed during January, the market will reopen in February.

Necklaces created by Chris Stell Creative
Arts

GARDEN DE LIGHTS

December
2008 (El Cajon) —
Visit the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College
as it comes to light for the holidays.

On Friday, December 12 from 5 to 9 p.m., the Garden de Lights event will display
of thousands of energy-saving lights courtesy of SDG&E.  Guests can
also enjoy an evening of garden tours, holiday shopping and festivities featuring
music, warm cider and cookie decorating for the kids.  Gift shop and a
vendor area will provide places to shop for holiday gifts.  For this event,
the gift shop will provide discounts of 25% for members and 15% for nonmembers.

KWANZAA CELEBRATIONS AND EVENTS ANNOUNCED

December 6, 2008 (San Diego) — A series of events commemorating Kwanzaa have
been announced, including several in San Diego's eastern region. 

The 18th annual Pan-African Associations of America Umoja Day program will
take place December 26th at the Malcolm X Library located at 5148 Market Street
in San Diego.  This a day long event and includes an adult workshop
explaining how to observe Kwanzaa in the home and a children's arts and craft
workshop on Kwanzaa: 10am to noon.  A Youth/Hip Hop discussion on Kwanzaa
will take place from 1pm to 3 p.m. The traditional lighting of the  first
Kwanzaa candle will take place at 4:30 p.m. and includes a program of  words
of inspiration, spoken word, music, drumming and dance, African martial arts,
silent auction and vendors.  The program ends at 8pm.  All
events are free to the public.

TOYS NEEDED FOR KIDS AND TEENS OF SINGLE PARENTS: CARE ORGANIZES DRIVE FOR DEC. 5 EVENT AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

SantaGrossmont
College's Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program, which
serves several hundred Grossmont College students who are single parents receiving
public assistance, is hosting a holiday party at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec.
5 at the college's Student Center.  CARE  is seeking donations of
unwrapped toys and gift cards for distribution at the party to school-age children
below age 17.

GIFTS FROM THE EAST

Our holiday guide to gifts unique to East County

By Miriam Raftery

Hot Pads
Buckskin baby booties are available at Mountain Oaks
Trading Post, Julian

December 1, 2008 (San Diego's East
County) —
This holiday season, why not choose gifts that benefit our community and provide
recipients with gifts that are unique to East County and San Diego's eastern
region?

In today's tough economic times, local merchants need support from community
members--especially during the holiday shopping season.   Buying products
made overseas or from companies that outsource jobs to foreign markets does
not help the U.S. economy or American workers.   Too many people
don't realize that ordering from big box discount stores or from Internet vendors
in distant places takes business away from our local economy.

BE A FLOWER HELPER (OR JUST AN ADMIRER) AT THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FLOWER PARADE

Roses for Bayer float

December 1, 2008 (Pasadena) — For a unique adventure just up the road, you can
help behind the scenes in the days before the Jan. 1st Tournament of Roses Parade
in Pasadena. The parade will be seen by 40 million people on Jan. 1 on TV networks
including HGTV. Each float is decorated with more flowers than the average florist
will use in five years!

HOLIDAY SEASON ARRIVES IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

It's official!  The holiday season has begun, heralded in by special
events across East County.

Over 100,000 people turned out to watch the 2008 Mother Goose Parade on Sunday,
which had a "Heroes of Might and Magic" theme.   Dazzling floats,
giant balloons,  equestrians, marching bands, 50 celebrities plus heroes
ranging from fictional Star Wars characters to real-life firefighters appeared
in this year's parade.  Entertainment include singing, dancing, clowns,
rappin' rollerskaters, high-stepping horses and a brigade of trashcan drummers. 

See
our exclusive video highlights:

Beck Family Rollers
Iceskating at Viejas ice rink
Mother Goose float, Mother goose
Parade, El Cajon 2008

Cox Cable's Happy Holidays float,
Mother Goose Parade 2008

Fun in the Sun float, Mother Goose
Parade 2008

Car doing
wheelies, Mother Goose Parade 2008

They've
got rhythm! Kid drummers at Mother goose Parade 2008

Horse-drawn
wagon at Mother Goose Parade 2008

TALKING TURKEY: BEST THANKSGIVING OPTIONS FOR EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

Credit: Leon Thompson

Whether your holiday spirit hearkens for a traditional feast or offbeat alternative
activities, you’ll find plenty of tempting choices in and around East
County this Thanksgiving weekend.  Here are a few of my favorite discoveries
for ECM readers to savor:

WEEKEND HALLOWEEN SCENE  & MORE EAST COUNTY EVENTS

For
a frightfully good time this week (not to mention satisfying your sweet tooth
cravings), you’ll find plenty of Halloween haunts in East County.

Start with Wednesday night’s “Trunk or Treat” in El Cajon,
where classic car club members will be doling out goodies.  On Thursday,
dig into a pumpkin pie-eating contest and costume party in Valley Center, or
chill out at the Otay Haunted House.

LIBRARY FRIENDS ANNOUNCE ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS

November
1, 2008 (San Diego) -
The Library Friends of San Diego County (LFSDC) announced
the winners of its annual essay contest, with this year's theme, "Libraries,
Loud or Quiet?" First, second and third place winners in the youth, teen
and adult categories will be honored by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
at the Tuesday, November 18 meeting, at 9:00 a.m.

A QUESTION OF POWER ON SDG&E'S PROPOSED SUNRISE POWERLINK:

  Video documentary distributed to CPUC is now online

October 23, 2008 (San Diego, CA) - Stubborn
Mule Productions and Backcountry Against the Dump, Inc. announce that “A
Question of Power” is now available online.

This one-hour locally produced grassroots documentary about the ongoing battle
over the 150-mile “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line proposed
by San Diego Gas & Electric was premiered recently in Escondido.  

HUNDREDS FLOCK TO ELKS OKTOBERFEST

By Miriam Raftery

October
20, 2008 (El Cajon) -
Over 800 people flocked to an Oktoberfest celebration
hosted by El Cajon’s Elks Lodge 1812, a tradition that dates back to
1975.

“I started the Oktoberfest,” said Giselle Howard (photo, left),
who was also the festival’s first Oktoberfest Queen.   “This
is why every year, they honor me.”  Still radiant at 86, Howard
wore her original dress and tiara as a fellow Elk pushed her wheelchair in
the Oktoberfest Parade.  The aromas of steak and bratwurst simmering on
a barbecue filled the air, along with scents of potato pancakes and other traditional
German fare.

WEEKLY EVENTS OCT. 22-29:  BORREGO DAYS DESERT FESTIVAL,  WATER-WISE GARDENING FEST, PARADES, COSTUME CONTEST, & SKY SHOW

October
21, 2008 (San Diego’s East County) -
 This weekend’s
hot events include Borrego Days Desert Festival, California Friendly Garden
Festival, Pine Valley Pet Parade, Bates Nut Farm Costume Contest, Willy Wonka
and the Chocolate Factory performances, 2008 Fall Kitchen Tour, and a Sky Show
following the Aztec football game.

EAST COUNTY OKTOBERFESTS:  WUNDERBAR!

October 1, 2008 (East County) - Time to get into the zeitgeist (spirit
of the time) and take to the streets for some old-fashioned celebrating at
East County’s multiple Oktoberfests!  

Began in Bavaria to celebrate the marriage of royalty, Oktoberfests have since
gained popularity worldwide.  Below are details on our region’s
oldest and biggest Oktoberfests, where you can savor German food, music, and
more.

NUTS ABOUT PUMPKINS? BATES  NUT FARM HAS GIANT GOURDS, FESTIVITIES & FAMILY FARM FUN

By Miriam Raftery

Leon Thompson

“This one, this one!”  Brendan Robeson of Santee pounces gleefully on a giant pumpkin far too large for his Mom to hoist.

David and Mandy Pumphrey of Murietta used a wheelbarrow to haul their 120-pound pumpkin to the weigh-in station at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center,  where activities between now and October 31 include a straw bale maze, hayride, craft fair, costume contest and yes, even a tower where you can let your kids climb the wall—literally! 

Weekly Events - October 6-14 THIS WEEKEND:  ARRIBA!  LA TOMATINA TOMATO FEST

Plus Candidate Forums, Oktoberfest Parade, Hello Dolly and more

By Miriam Raftery

Borrowing
a tradition from Spain (with a few Southern California twists), Tierra Miguel
Farm in Pauma Valley is hosting La Tomatina – a tomato fest complete
with authentic Spanish cuisine (bring your own paella), wine and beer tasting,
live music and a tomato fling!  Call ahead to join in the fun this Saturday
(see our calendar for details).  This event is limited to age 18 and over;  bring
your own goggles! You can also help prepare the soil for next year’s
crop – and sign up for Tierra Miguel’s community agricultural program
to receive their fresh-grown produce. 

CHEAP CHIC: SAVOR A RESALE FASHION SHOPPING SPREE

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2008 (LA MESA) - If your budget is tight amid today’s rising prices, take heart! A fun way to shrink your clothing budget without sacrificing style is to treat yourself to a shopping spree in a delightful East County resale shop.

My personal favorite resale outlet is Act II, which has two stores in downtown La Mesa, both on La Mesa Blvd.

IN SEARCH OF THE GREAT PUMPKIN

Our Guide to East County Pumpkin Patches

Article and photos By Daisy Sharrock

Leon Thompson.
Bear Padilla checks out pumpkins at Bates Nut Farm.

There
is something wonderful about autumn. Even here in East County, where the temperature
dips only a fraction compared to much of the country, you can still feel a
tinge of crisp coolness ushering in the holiday season.  First
up on the holiday roster is my family’s hands-down favorite: Halloween.

Autumn makes me think of scarlet maple trees, pumpkin pie, grinning jack-o’-lanterns,
hay rides and corn mazes, yummy pumpkin pie, costumes, and did I mention the
delicious pumpkin pie? What’s not to love? This is family frolic at its
best.  Fortunately, East County has a great line-up of pumpkin patches
with activities to make even the gravest ghoul crack a smile.  So as your
family gets ready to indulge this Halloween, be sure to check out one (or more)
of these neighborhood pumpkin patches and join in the fun!

Cool Places to Beat the Heat

By Miriam Raftery

Looking to cool off? No need to battle crowds at the beach. Check out our editor's "cool picks" for places to beat the heat in San Diego's eastern areas.
MAKE A SPLASH AT THE SANTEE AQUATIC CENTER:

East County's best-kept aquatic adventure area features a spiral slide plus children's play equipment--all built into a swimming pool. The facility also offers water aerobics classes for adults. Great family fun!
10123 Riverwalk Drive, Santee
Website

CHILL OUT AT KROC CENTER ICE:
Public ice skating, figure skating lessons, hockey and broomball are offered at the NFL-sized ice rink located at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Skating competitions and private party ice rentals are also available.
6737 University Ave., San Diego
Website

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