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Seasonal celebrations return to East County

East county residents can choose from two community holiday gatherings this Saturday: La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village or Lakeside’s Spirit of Christmas, both happening on Dec. 3.

La Mesa Village Association’s seventh annual Holiday in the Village event will feature carnival games, craft and food vendors, a holiday 360°photo booth and ‘selfies with Santa’. Attendees can relax by multiple fire pits while listening to holiday carolers, community performances and local bands, and other live entertainment.

The association’s marketing representative Elizabeth Ranta said the event “brings our community together for festive merriment” with performances from local La Mesa schools, clubs and church groups where families, faculty and staff, and friends show up to support the local performers.

“The event is fun for all with activities like hula hoops and dancing and fire pits to enjoy a cup of cocoa,” Ranta said.

The holiday celebration brings visitors to the village, Ranta said, and exposes them to the variety of shops, and eateries available year-round.

“The event is uniquely La Mesa because it focuses on a small town feel where visitors can shop and dine among local vendors as well as the boutiques along La Mesa boulevard,” Ranta said, including clothing, jewelry, home goods & décor, antiques, books, and the many village restaurants.

To that end, LMVA is coordinating a holiday decorating contest in which visitors can vote for their favorite storefront. The community can vote on their favorite decorations from Dec. 1 through Dec. 16 with ballot boxes available on site, or vote online.

Association Chair Theresa Favro said the event also offers residents a chance to purchase a legacy tile for the Downtown District sign planned for La Mesa Boulevard and Palm Avenue. The project is currently 83 percent funded, with over $330,000 raised since July 2022.

LMVA Treasurer and Secretary Pam Rader called the project a “labor of love” that is 83% funded. Tiles and plaques will be for sale at Holiday in the Village.

The La Mesa event runs from noon to 9 p.m. Visit for more information on Holiday in the Village.

Just 10 miles away, Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Spirit of Christmas on Maine Avenue in downtown Lakeside with kettle corn, candy canes, cookies and other treats for sale by local clubs, churches and community organizations.

Vendor booths featuring treats and activities will line the street with live performances from schoolchildren and other groups planned throughout the evening.

El Capitan High School Marching Vaqueros will be escorting Santa Claus up Maine avenue at 4:30 p.m. to the Lakeside Historical Society where the large Christmas tree will be officially lit at 5 p.m.

Spirit of Christmas runs from 3 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.

Visit for more information on Spirit of Christmas.

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Source: East County Californian

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