Category Archives: Entertainment

Fourth annual Santee Bluegrass Festival was a big hit

The sun sets over the 2013 Santee Bluegrass Festival

The sun sets over the 2013 Santee Bluegrass Festival

On Saturday, September 14, over 1000 people took part in the fourth annual Santee Bluegrass Festival. This event, which began as the Santee Wine and Bluegrass Festival, but has since expanded the offerings with local craft beers and plenty of food, helps to raise money for recreation services in Santee. It was a fun evening of music, food, wine and beer, and community. Box Canyon and The Tail Draggers provided the bluegrass and over two dozen wineries and breweries brought out samples. Over a dozen restaurants and caterers provided the food for the evening. For more about the festival, read my article in Santee Examiner.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Santee Lakes Celebrate the Holidays

Santa Claus greets a young Santee resident during a previous Santa at the Lakes celebration

Santa Claus greets a young Santee resident during a previous Santa at the Lakes celebration

This weekend, December 8 and 9, will be full of holiday cheer and family fun at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. On Saturday the first annual Lighting at the Lakes will celebrate the season with the illumination of Santee’s tallest Christmas tree. On Sunday the annual Santa at the Lakes returns with the jolly old elf himself, along with games and activities for the whole family.

The Lighting at the Lakes is also an inauguration celebration for the newly-constructed pavilion at Lake One. The fun will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will include carolers, vendors and a parade of decorated carts. Refreshments will be provided by Coffee Corner, Sweet Treats and Two for the Road. Santee Santas will be on hand to collect donations of toys for needy families, and all guests are requested to bring an unwrapped gift.

The lighting is a joint effort of Santee Lakes Foundation, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, San Diego State University and SDG&E. To help make this a green Christmas, solar panels will provide the energy for the lights on the tree and on the pavilion.

Sledding at the LakesEvery year Santa Claus visits Santee Lakes just before Christmas, bringing good cheer and a supply of snow for Southern California natives to enjoy. The day will be full of sledding, pony rides, hay rides, crafts and carnival rides. The celebration begins at 11:00 a.m. and runs until 4:00 p.m. Parking for the day is $5 and rides tickets are 50 cents each.

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve is located at 9310 Fanita Parkway, just south of Mast Blvd. For more information on either event, call 619-596-3141 or visit the Santee Lakes website.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Santee Salutes Moves to Town Center Community Park East

The annual Santee Salutes July 4th celebration moves to a new home for 2012, but look for the same great family-friendly fun and marvelous fireworks. This year the event will take place at Town Center Community Park East, site of the weekly Summer Concert Series (which takes this week off for the Fourth). The fun officially begins at 3:30 p.m. and lasts until 9:30 p.m. following the evening’s fireworks show. Families looking for the best spot will probably want to arrive early to save the space.

This year a long-time favorite, 80z All Stars, will return to provide the musical entertainment. The 80z All Stars have performed at previous Santee Salutes celebrations, the Summer Concert Series and the Santee Street Fair. The day will also include carnival games and inflatables for the kids (and those young at heart) and traditional food booths. New this year will be a lineup of gourmet food trucks offering everything from old-fashioned barbecue to spicy Thai delicacies. For those who like to cool down during the day, the City of Santee Aquatics Center will offer free swimming from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

At 6:00 p.m. a patriotic ceremony will celebrate the true meaning of the Fourth of July. The ceremony will feature speakers and a color guard from the Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 (the “Heavy Haulers”) from Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar. The fireworks show begins at 9:00 p.m.

This year, to help defray some of the costs of the free event, the city will be charging a $5 fee for parking in surrounding lots, with limited preferred parking in the closest lot for $15. Handicapped parking in the preferred lot will be $5. There will be free parking with a shuttle at the Costco parking lot, beginning at 3:00 p.m. and lasting until 10:00 p.m. RV parking is also available in the Costco lot.

Another new addition is the ability to reserve a 10×10 canopy in a prime location for $100. This will allow you to enjoy the day and not have to worry about carrying chairs, tables, coolers and what-have-you a long distance from the parking lot. The fee includes preferred parking and spaces can be reserved online at

Several area streets will have traffic limited to residents during the evening hours because of the celebration and fireworks. Bilteer Drive, Bilteer Court, San Remo Court, San Remo Drive, Conejo Place, Magnolia Park Drive, Cottonwood Avenue, Verde Vista Lane, Day Creek trail and Leavesly Trail will be closed except to residents.

Santee Salutes is presented by the City of Santee, with sponsorship from Waste Management and Cannon Pacific and donations from Lakeside Equipment Sales Inc, Bob’s Crane Service, Cottonwood Electric Cart Service and Rice RV. For more information, visit or call the Special Event Hotline at 619-258-4100 ext. 201.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Fourth Annual Santee Street Fair to Honor Our Military Heroes

The wildly successful Santee Street Fair returns this Saturday, May 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. along Riverview Drive east of Santee Trolley Square. The family-friendly event is free and features hundreds of vendors, live bands, rides and games for the kids and plenty of food. This year, to help kick off the Memorial Day Weekend, the Santee Street Fair will honor our military heroes with a special ceremony.

The Santee Street Fair is the largest single-day festival in the East County, with over 40,000 people attending last year and even more expected this time. It is put on by the Santee Chamber of Commerce and the City of Santee as a way to promote the community throughout the greater San Diego region. Businesses from throughout Santee and around the county will be there to share information with visitors.

Santee’s own Clint August, from 101KGB, will act as master of ceremonies for the day, but there are rumors that a certain local pirate could drop in to commandeer the microphone at some point. Along with the Santee Chamber of  Commerce and the City of Santee, the Street Fair is supported by Padre Dam’s Santee Lakes, Barona Resort & Casino, AIR Santee, SDG&E, Union Bank, El Cajon Harley Davidson and many other companies and organizations.

The first Street Fair, in 2009, came together in only six months and showed what Santee could do when people who cared about the city put their minds together. Since then it has grown to a greatly-anticipated celebration that draws rave reviews every year. The 2012 edition will feature many of the same vendors and entertainment that people have enjoyed, with many new ones to discover.

New to the Main Stage this year will be Atomic Groove, billed as the best in variety dance bands. The group has been voted the Best Local Band in Ranch & Coast Magazine and in the Union-Tribune’s SignOn San Diego Readers’ Poll. Joining Atomic Groove from their popular shows last year will be Credence Relived, a Credence Clearwater Revival tribute band, and Liquid Blue, certified by the Guinness Book of Records as “The World’s Most Traveled Band.”

While the Street Fair is free, as is parking, be sure to bring plenty of money to enjoy all of the different foods that will be on hand. In the past the fare has ranged from Hawaiian shaved ice to hot dogs and hamburgers and top-notch barbecue. This year the beer garden will feature Santee’s own Manzanitza Brewing Company, which will soon celebrate their second anniversary with a move to a new, larger facility.

Read about the 2011 Santee Street Fair on Santee Examiner

Read about the 2010 Santee Street Fair on Santee Examiner and Scouting Santee

Read about the 2009 Santee Street Fair on Scouting Santee

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Chamber Activities, Community, Entertainment, Military

Santee Car Show draws thousands

The second annual Santee Car Show attracted thousands of visitors to the community on Saturday, October 8. The event featured classic cars, great music by Moondawgs and 4 Lads from Liverpool, and a wide variety of vendors. The big winners on the day were the Santee Santas and Santee Food Bank, two community groups that received support and increased awareness through the event.

(L-R) Laura Plante, Sam Modica and Vicki Cecil of Santee Santas at the Santee Car Show

Santee Santas is a non-profit organization that has been providing support to low income seniors and families in the community since 1953. The all-volunteer group works with the Santee School District to identify students and families who need assistance at the holidays and throughout the year. The Family Emergency Fund is available at any time of the year, while the Holiday Food and Toy Program focuses on providing assistance at the holidays. The group also has a Senior Outreach Program that works to make sure that seniors in the community are not forgotten about during the year. Sam Modica, one of the organization’s directors explained that being a part of the Car Show “gives us quite a bit of exposure to the community that we didn’t have in years past.” The group hopes that its attendance at the Car Show and the Santee Street Fair will help bring in both donations and volunteers to help the organization throughout the year.

Sandy Olewine (L) and Marsi Walker (R) of Santee Food Bank

The second organization, Santee Food Bank, has been helping families in Santee since 1988, and has found its services in much greater demand since the start of the Great Recession. Another all-volunteer group, the Food Bank provides once-a-month assistance to needy low and middle income families in the community. Marsi Walker, Public Affairs Director, said that the exposure at the Car Show is a great benefit for the Food Bank in its efforts to reach out the the greater community for volunteers and donations. “The fact that the Chamber is so supportive of us and sponsors the Car Show to help benefit the Food Bank means so much to us,” said Walker. “We are out here giving out flyers inviting people to come and work at the Food Bank, to give their time and energy and service, and we have collection cans throughout the show for donations.”

One of the biggest draws for the Car Show was the raffle of a restored 1967 Ford Mustang GT, sponsored by the Santee Chamber of Commerce. Only 2000 tickets were sold at $20 each, with money going to the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. The car was restored by Lloyd’s Collision and Repair of Santee, with help from San Diego Mustang Shop, Mark’s Auto Glass, Mark Luhr’s Custom Upholstery and Xpress Muffler. Bob Lloyd, owner of Lloyd’s Collision and a member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, said that the raffle had been so popular that the Chamber plans to repeat it next year, possibly with a classic Chevy Camaro.

(L-R) Miss Teen Santee Savannah Keener, Miss Santee Maria Maes, and "Mr. Santee" Rob McNelis

Also on hand for the show were Miss Santee, Maria Maes, and Miss Teen Santee, Savannah Keener, who helped choose two of the winning cars in the show. “It was so difficult coming through and picking our favorite cars,” said Savannah. “There were so many people out here with their special cars.” Maria echoed her teen counterpart’s enthusiasm. “Coming to the Car Show was amazing. All of the beautiful cars we saw, and we got to choose our favorite cars. It was a tough decision.”

After the success of the second Car Show, it’s no surprise that planning is already under way for the third edition, scheduled for early October, 2012. The next major event in Santee will be the Santee Holiday Lighting Celebration in November, followed by the annual Santee Street Fair in May, 2012.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Activities, Community, Entertainment

Win a Classic Mustang at the Santee Car Show

Win this 1967 Ford Mustang at the 2011 Santee Car Show

The second annual Santee Car Show is coming up on Saturday, October 8, and this year the Santee Chamber of Commerce will be raffling off a classic 1967 Ford Mustang to help raise funds for the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. Only 2000 of the $20 tickets will be sold, so odds are much better than the Lottery. The Chamber has been selling the tickets at regular events and at special displays around town, including at the Santee Wine & Bluegrass Festival and in front of local stores. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the Car Show.

2010 Santee Car Show Grand Trophy Winner

The first Santee Car Show was a great success, with over 10,000 visitors attending. The first show included over 175 classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, music, games, vendor booths, and much more. This year the show will include over 200 vehicles, plus a display by the Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association. As before, there will be games, rides, and over food and vendor booths. The big draw this year – besides the cars – will be musical guest 4 Lads from Liverpool, a top Beatles tribute band. The Lads will be performing on stage in the afternoon, followed by a photo session at the Beatles Fan Club booth nearby. A portion of the funds raised from the photos will go to the event’s fundraising efforts.

For more information visit the Santee Car Show website.

Read about the 2010 Santee Car Show.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chamber Activities, Community, Entertainment

Fashion Fundraiser returns to East County

The very successful Fashion Rocks the East County, which raised money for scholarships for the Miss La Mesa and Miss Santee Pageants the past two years, is back and bigger than ever. This year the event, which takes place on Sunday, August 14, has a new name – Rockin’ SD County Fashion – and new partner pageants. But the goal is the same – to provide money so local winners can continue their education. Last year the event raised $3200 and has a goal of exceeding $5000 this time around. Joining the Miss La Mesa and Miss Santee Pageants are the Miss San Diego, Miss Greater San Diego, and Miss San Diego Cities Pageants. Alexandra Kuty, an organizer of the La Mesa, Santee and San Diego Cities competitions, expects the increased reach of the additional pageants will help bring in more donations, participants, and attendees. The event takes place in the La Mesa Community Services Arbor Room beginning at 6:00 p.m.

The first Fashion Rocks the East show took place in 2009 and was the brainchild of then-Miss Santee Sierra Billock, who wanted to help future winners to have the same opportunities she had. Miss Billock continues to be involved in the organization of the shows, in addition to pursuing her career in business marketing and running for additional titles. Also heavily involved in the project is Troy Hartpence, who is currently director of the Miss Santee Pageant and helps with the La Mesa and Miss San Diego Cities events as well. “All of the proceeds will go back into giving the 2012 contestants and titleholders scholarship money to further their education,” explains Ms. Hartpence. Katie Martin, who received a $1000 scholarship as Miss La Mesa this year, says of the pageants, “It’s a wonderful platform to promote causes that are important to you and with the help of our fundraisers it’s also a great way to award the titleholders with much needed funds for education.

This year Old Navy (Santee) and Be Beauty Boutique (Little Italy) have already confirmed their participation in the show, with past and present titleholders modeling some of their offerings. In the past Act II, PreVue, and Sara’s Selections have also provided fashions for the show. As in the past, the Santee-based band Ramshackle will provide musical entertainment and accompaniment to the event. The show is open to the public, with tickets $10 in advance or $20 at the door, and includes a silent auction and dessert reception in addition to the fashion show. The show is looking for additional donations for the silent auction, and any other assistance or support is welcome. For more information, to donate items for the silent auction, or to purchase tickets contact Alexandra Kuty at 619-518-2777 or email at

Read the stories on previous Fashion Rocks the East events:




Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Santee Salutes July 4th

On Monday Santee once again salutes our Nation’s independence with the annual Santee Salutes July 4th celebration.  The event, which takes place at Town Center Community Park West, begins at 3:30 p.m. and lasts until 9:30 p.m. and includes music, games, and fireworks. Several local restaurants and groups will have booths set up with a variety of foods and treats. A special ceremony will include a color guard from one of Santee’s adopted Marine units.

The fun begins with music by the Danielle Tucker Band from 3:30-6:00 p.m. playing contemporary country tunes. A Kid’s Zone will feature carnival rides, inflatables, and games for the young revelers at minimal cost. The nearby Aquatic Center facility will be closed for the day, but the pool will be open from 1:00-3:00 p.m. for a little relief from the expected high temperatures. The ceremony honoring Independence Day begins at 6:00 p.m. and will include the color guard and patriotic songs by young singers from Singing Solo. After the ceremony the Mighty Untouchables take the stage with music ranging from Motown to contemporary Top 40 Hits. The celebration ends with a fireworks display beginning at 9:00 p.m. Food will be available until the end of the day and will include offerings from Michael’s Grill, Pat and Oscars, Eccentric International Chefs and Bakery, and Elegant Buffet.  Organizations on hand with food will include SPARC (Santee Parks and Recreation Committee), Santee Ravens Football and Cheer, and the Teen Center.

If you plan to attend, be aware that blankets and coolers are welcome, and shades are allowed in certain areas until the fireworks begin. However, glass containers and barbecues are not allowed and pets must be on a leash at all times. Also be aware that parking on site is severely limited and it is recommended that you use one of the off-site locations, either the Costco parking lot or the Cameron Family YMCA, or the Edgmoor Hospital site for limited RV parking. There will be shuttle service between the outlying lots and the event. For more details, visit the Santee Salutes July 4th page on the City of Santee website.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Movies Return to Santee Lakes

It’s time again for Santee Lakes’ Movies by the Lake on Friday nights. Every other week, beginning this Friday, June 24, the folks at Padre Dam’s Santee Lakes will set up a giant screen beside Lake 5 for families to enjoy a recent animated film. The movies are free, although there is an $8 fee per automobile. This year the West Hills Marching Band and Color Guard will host a concession stand at the lake for your dining pleasure. They will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, and more and all proceeds will go to help support their activities for the 2011-2012 school year. The gates open at 4:00 and the concession stand opens at 6:00. There will be games and activities starting at 7:00 and the movie begins at 8:00. Get the family together, bring your chairs, blankets, and jackets, and have a great time.

Movie Schedule:

June 24 – Yogi Bear

July 8 – Open Season 3

July 22 – The Ant Bully

August 5 – Tangled

August 19 – Toy Story 3

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment

Santee Summer Concerts Move to New Home

The annual Santee Summer Concert Series is back once again with great music and fun times – but with a new venue. This year the series has moved from the amphitheater atTrolley Squareto the stage at Towne Center Park East. The new location is at550 Park Center Dr., just east of the Cameron Family YMCA. The two-hour concerts are every Thursday night (except July 7) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Although there have been some complaints about the move, the city is working to make the new site as much fun as the old.

One of the main complaints about the new location has been about food – because the old venue was surrounded by quick-stop restaurants, music fans would come early, buy dinner, and then eat and enjoy the music. There will be food available at the new site, although not with quite the same variety. The on-site snack shack will serve up traditional food such as hamburgers, nachos, and sodas, and will add specialty items to the menu each week. Of course, if you want to bring your own snacks, that works just as well.

The musical choices this year reflect a wide range of styles and genres. The series kicked off last week with the Showband West from the U.S. Navy Band Southwest, and this week features the Danielle Tucker Band playing contemporary Country music. Future concerts will include rock, blues, swing, and more Country. The full schedule is as follows:

June 16 – Showband West from Navy Band Southwest

June 23 – The Danielle Tucker Band

June 30 – The Corvettes

July 14 – Three Chord Justice

July 21 – The Bill Magee Blues Band AND Len Rainey & The Midnight Players

July 28 – Phat Cat Swingers

August 4 – The Alley Cats

August 11 – Clay Colton Band

August 18 – The Cat·illacs

All concerts are free to the public. For more information visit the City of Santee’s Special Events page.

Leave a comment

Filed under Community, Entertainment