El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Cynthia Robertson

In Santee, there is a nature sanctuary of ponds, birds, bullfrogs and rabbits, a spot of beauty in the most unlikely of places. This little oasis is light years away from the busy traffic off Town Parkway Center Drive. 

The 43rd Annual La Mesa Oktoberfest from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 was a most welcome event this year, helping t make good neighbors of everyone. The largest Oktoberfest celebration west of the Mississippi, La Mesa Oktoberfest has been a tradition of the city since 1973. People of all ages enjoy the street festival along La Mesa Boulevard as well as the food, music and dancing at the Allison Street Stage.

On Sept. 17, the hypnotic beat of Native American drums sounded out from the plaza area of St. Philip the Apostle Episcopal Church in Lemon Grove. The Quetzalhuitzilin Colibri group, also known as Danza Azteca, performed to celebrate the annual Latino and Hispanic Heritage Day of the San Diego Episcopal Diocese.

Families and friends gathered together to enjoy the dancers, luscious Filipino and Mexican food and drink, music and a children’s area with crafts, bounce house, mini carousel and balloons.

The jewelry display case at Golden Artistry in La Mesa Village sparkles with stones and metals and all things precious. Owner Terry Whyte is well known throughout East County for his nature-based custom designed jewelry. 

Whyte particularly enjoys working with 18k yellow gold. “It’s soft and easy to form, has rich color, and it polishes in a snap,” he said.

Any favorite gemstones? “I like all stones,” he said.

Anything written by Mitch Albom, author of books such as “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” is sure to please. His play “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel” takes aim for the heart just as much as his books do.

Lamplighters Theater in La Mesa will hold the production of the comical, heart-warming play, beginning September 2. In comedic but poignant moments about a tabloid writer, the play delivers insight into the human psyche against a backdrop of the Alabama swamps.

Rise City Church in Lakeside is a perfect example of how good timing and synchronicity can work together to help great things come to pass. Pastor Brandon Grant and his wife Janie moved to East County in Iowa in 2012. Just a few months after they bought their home in Lakeside, the realtor said that someone else wanted to buy it from them.

Hundreds of people gathered on the Boulevard in La Mesa Village on Wednesday, August 3. It was the launch of the new Boulevard Stroll to take place each first Wednesday of the month. Stores were open late, offering refreshments and special deals. There was music, dance performances and the La Mesa Drum Circle to keep people smiling and keep people exploring among the shops and restaurants.

Nine award-winning pastel artists are featured in the current exhibit, “Art in the Park” at Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor’s Center. The subjects of the paintings range from animals to seascapes. The artists are all members of the San Diego Pastel Society of San Diego and hosted a reception on July 23.

The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce helped Cucina Basilico, one of its newest members, hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on July 19 at the restaurant. Owners Francesca and Danilo De Corato and their partners Stefano and Sara Panzeri had nearly 60 people attending a warm, welcoming dinner party.

On July 17, La Mesa Beautiful presented 13 La Mesa residences with the Spirit Award. Each of them were recognized for beautification of their yards without using grass using drought tolerant landscaping.

The Spirit Award is so named, President Sharon Fitzpatrick explained, for the spirit of community demonstrated by these individuals. The award winners were each given a new permanent sign that can be placed in the yard or on a fence where others will see that the yard has been recognized by LMB.