Tag Archives: Santee Santas

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.

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Santa Visits Coffee Corner for Story Time

Not a mouse was in sight, and children were definitely not snuggled in their beds on Saturday, December 3, as Santa arrived at Coffee Corner in Santee to read stories and share the holiday spirit. Santa’s elves, who double as the coffee shop’s baristas during the regular year, were on hand to help with the fun. About 15 boys and girls and about two dozen adults gathered to kick off the Christmas season.

The Santa reading event was the brainchild of Santee resident and radio host (101 KGB FM) Clint August as a way to benefit both the community and his favorite coffee shop. “I started it with Duane Parks (owner of Coffee Corner) because I love seeing children get in the spirit of Christmas and I love the coffee shop. I figured it’s such a great, intimate location to have families come from Santee. They can see their children smile while meeting Santa.”

Before Santa’s “arrival,” the barista elves entertained the children, clowning around and pretending they were unable to find where the jolly old elf was. When he did appear, Santa explained that before he read the stories they had to light the decorated tree at the shop. He then went around and had each child touch a tree-topper star to start the “magic” needed to light the tree when it was put in place.

This year families were asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Santee Santas, a local organization that provides food and presents to needy families during the holiday season. In addition to the toys, food and nearly $100 were donated to help make the season a little brighter for some local families.

Photographer Penny Wilkinson was on hand taking pictures of the kids as they perched on Santa’s lap and shared their Christmas lists. According to August, the crowd was about one-third larger than the previous year. Asked about plans for the future, he said Santa would be returning every year for the foreseeable future. “I’d love to get my boys as Santa’s helpers one day,” August indicated. “Certainly all of the elves that were there last night would be great to have again. They were fantastic.”

Coffee Corner owner Parks later posted his appreciation on his Facebook page: “thank you to everyone who stopped by The Coffee Corner last night to visit with Santa…. It was truly a magical night… Many toys, food and nearly $100 were all donated to a local (Santee Santa’s). Thanks to Santa for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit with our kids, and thanks to his lovely elves who kept us organized and entertained (you girls are great elves, and Awesome Baristas too. Special thanks Penny Wilkinson and Chris Carmichael for capturing the evening on camera. God is good!”

For anyone who missed the event and would like to help Santee Santas, you can visit their website to find out more information.

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Santee Santas Need Your Help

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

The following is a press release from Santee Santas explaining the great need they have for help this holiday season. I have written about the Santas before, and I encourage readers to get involved with the group, even if it is just a small donation.

Santee Santas Prepare for High Demand this Holiday Season
As the economic downturn continues, Santee Santas brace for high demand; Seek help from local businesses and residents

SANTEE, CA, November 8, 2011 (For Immediate Release) – As the holiday season begins to pick up steam, the Santee Santas are already in full swing of their holiday preparations to ensure that every Santee resident enjoys some holiday cheer.

Santee Santas is an all-volunteer, non-profit, organization bringing comfort and joy to Santee residents by providing food and gifts, especially during the holiday season.  Each family who receives assistance is able to get a holiday meal and enough staples to last a few weeks. Each child receives toys or gift cards depending on their age as well as books.

“With the current state of the economy, we are anticipating even greater demands this year than we saw in 2010,” says Gail Ramer, Vice Chairman of Santee Santas. “When you add to this fact that so many local businesses are suffering, we are hoping that those who are able, will step up and help us meet the needs of so many hurting Santee residents.”

For those who can help, donations of new unwrapped toys and books, as well as non-perishable food items, are currently being accepted at over 30 drop box locations throughout Santee. Cash donations are also always encouraged.  Cash donations can be mailed to Santee Santas Foundation, P.O. Box 710033, Santee, CA 92072-0033 or through PayPal via the Santee Santas Website.

For those in need, applications will be accepted on Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at Santee City Hall at 10601 N. Magnolia, Building 8.  Applications will also be accepted on November 16 from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm and November 29 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Santee Fire Station #4 at 8950 Cottonwood Avenue.  Blank applications are available at all Santee School Offices, Santee Chamber of Commerce, the Santee Library or by visiting www.santeesantas.org.
Santee Santas has been bringing the spirit of the holidays to the Santee Community for more than fifty years.  In 2010, Santee Santas assisted 203 families, including 397 children and delivered 150 flower arrangements to seniors at mobile home parks and 100 Stuffed animals were given to residents at Stanford Court Nursing Home.

For more information about Santee Santas, including a complete list of toy and food drop-off locations, or to make a donation online, please visit www.santeesantas.org.

Thank You Santee!

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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.

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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.

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Taste of Santee Returns for 2010

Santee’s annual extravaganza of food returns on Thursday, December 2, at the Union Bank in the CVS/Best Buy Center. The Taste of Santee is an annual event that combines the Santee Chamber of Commerce’s December Mixer with a fund raiser for Santee Santas and a showcase for local restaurants and caterers. The night is one of the major sources of funds and resources for the Santee Santas, which has provided assistance to Santee families for over 50 years. As always, admission is either $5, an unwrapped toy, or non-perishable food – but all three are more than welcome.

Last year’s lineup included Chili’s, Coffee Brake, Don Lucio’s Taco Shop, Eccentric International Chefs, Michael’s Grill, and many more. You can always expect a great selection of food at the Taste of Santee. You can check out the fun at the last two Taste of Santee nights below.

2009 Taste of Santee

Taste of Santee 2008

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Thousands Attend First Annual Santee Car Show

Following up on the success of the two-year-old Santee Street Fair, the Santee Chamber of Commerce pulled off the first Santee Car Show on Saturday, October 9. The day saw an estimated 10,000 visitors enjoying over 175 classic cars, trucks, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles, a wine and beer garden, and music by local band Ramshackle and San Diego favorite The Corvettes. Adding to the fun were dozens of local businesses and food establishments, and a generous sprinkling of political candidates.

The Car Show was a way to both showcase Santee and its businesses and to support two special organizations: Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. Santee Santas is a community support group that provides food and toys to needy Santee families at the holidays. They also have an emergency fund program and a senior outreach program for seniors who are alone or in nursing homes. The Santee Food Bank provides non-perishable food for needy families in the community. Both of these groups benefitted greatly from the exposure as well as from donations and money raised through a silent auction and other activities.

The day also became an opportunity for the community to come together for one more special cause – a young Santee boy named Ryan who was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Ryan was diagnosed on August 13 and has already had two surgeries on the tumor, but you would not have known by looking at him. He was bright, spunky, and not too overwhelmed with all the attention he was getting. Santana National Little League had a booth taking donations toward his medical bills, and his family, which already has a disabled 5-year-old child, will hold a fundraiser at Jimano’s Pizza on Thursday, October 21 from 7:00-9:00 pm. At the Show, Ryan received a baseball autographed by former Padre and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith from the Chamber, and Ramshackle gave him a set of drumsticks from their set. You can follow up with Ryan and his family on Facebook and at CaringBridge.org.

This being election time, the politicians were popping up like mushrooms after a heavy rain – not that we know much about heavy rains in Santee. Candidates for local, state, and national offices were there in person or through their local supporters to meet the public and answer questions. At least 5 of the 8 candidates for City Council put in appearances, as did many of those running for Padre Dam Water District Board and local school boards. Watch for some interviews with candidates over the next few weeks.

As with the Street Fair, music was a big part of the day. Local band Ramshackle, featuring lead vocalist Eddie Vandiver, entertained the crowd with a mix of music by artists as varied as Tommy Tutone, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Ramshackle was followed on stage by, fittingly for a car show, The Corvettes.  One of the top oldies bands in San Diego, The Corvettes include keyboardist Sam Witkin, an original member of Sha-Na-Na and veteran of Woodstock.

Of course the big draw of the day was the collection of amazing vehicles at the show. From wonderfully restored classic cars to amazingly detailed and decorated modern cars, there was a vehicle to satisfy just about everyone. The Show and its sponsors provided a number of trophies for the top cars, including Sponsor Trophies, People’s Choice, and the Best of Show Trophy. In addition, a plaque was presented to the club that brought the most cars to the show. For the first year that award went to the Poway Cruisers for bringing 10 cars. Other top winners are below. Apologies for any misspelled names.

Best of Show: 1931 Ford Phaeton owned by Stan and Judy Spate

Firestone Trophy: 1967 Chevy Camaro owned by Bob Dunn

Mothers Trophy: 1969 Chevy Camaro owned by Pat Newman

Miss Santee 2010 Trophy: 1932 Ford Coupe owned by Al Aguilar

Miss Santee Teen 2010 Trophy: 1965 Ford Mustang owned by Mike Evans

S&S Trophies Trophy: 1965 Ford Mustang owned by Gary Canfield

Lloyd’s Collision Trophy: 1969 Chevy Chevelle owned by Tom Harmon*

Best Buy Trophy: 1959 Buick LaSabre owned by Steve Parker*

*The Lloyd’s Collision and Best Buy Trophies were accepted by designates of the winners.

Update: Additional Photos.

Sadly, shortly after the car show my hard drive crashed before I had the chance to back up my photos. The link above is to a few I put online just before the crash.

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Santee Car Show Revs Up for Saturday

How do you follow up a wildly successful street fair? If you’re Santee you put together what promises to be an equally successful car show. The first annual Santee Car Show will take place on Saturday, October 9, along Riverview Parkway, the same site as the Santee Street Fair. The show will feature over 200 classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles, vendors, food booths, music, and a wine and beer garden. The fun starts at 9:00 am and continues until 5:00 pm and admission is free.

The Santee Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to bring together a great lineup for the day. Local band Ramshackle will lead off the musical entertainment, followed by headliners The Corvettes. As an added treat, the Fabulous World-Famous Corvette Diner Dancers will be on hand to perform some of their own creative routines. The Car Show will also feature special guest MC Clint August of 101KGB’s “BC and Clint” afternoon drive-time show.

Along with a showcase for cool cars and great businesses, the Car Show is a fundraiser for two important organizations: Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. Santee Santas is a community support group that provides food and toys to needy Santee families at the holidays. They also have an emergency fund program and a senior outreach program for seniors who are alone or in nursing homes. The Santee Food Bank provides non-perishable food for needy families in the community. Representatives of both groups will be accepting donations of food and money during the event.

If you enjoy hot cars, cool music, and fun, be sure to check out the Santee Car Show this Saturday. For more information, check out the Santee Car Show website.


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Santee Car Show Coming Soon

Artwork by Jim Busike

The same folks who brought you the hugely successful Santee Street Fair are at it again. On Saturday, October 9, the Santee Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the first annual Santee Car Show and Festival. The event will take place in the same location as the Street Fair – on Riverview Parkway, just east of Santee Trolley Center. There will be over 200 cars, trucks, hot rods, motorcycles, and other vehicles, along with music and other entertainment, and a Beer and Wine Garden. The show has spaces for 150 vendors, but these are going quickly, as are the spaces for show cars.

The Santee Car Show will not only spotlight local businesses and some of the great cars in the region, but will also help raise funds for Santee Santas, a local organization that helps support struggling families in the community, and the Santee Food Bank. Organizers are encouraging everyone who attends to bring non-perishable food to donate to these two great groups. The fun starts at 9:00 am and lasts until 5:00 pm. For more information on car or vendor space check out the links at the end.

These pictures show a few of the cars that took part in the Italia Ristorante Car Show in January. Will some of them be in the Santee Car Show? You’ll have to come down October 9 to find out.

Show Your Car

Vendor Sign Up

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2009 Taste of Santee

On Thursday, December 3, the Union Bank branch in Santee once again hosted the annual Taste of Santee Mixer. This event is not just an opportunity for local restaurants and caterers to showcase their goodies. It also helps to raise funds, food, and toys for Santee Santas, a group which has provided assistance to needy Santee families since 1953. The Taste of Santee has been going on over 20 years now, and continues to be an important part of the community.

Over a dozen local establishments shared some of their best with the many who attended. Among the guests were members of the Santee City Council, Santee Chamber of Commerce, and many friends of Santee Santas. As in past years, the group Honky Tonk Kings provided the musical entertainment for the evening. The Kings consider this as their way of helping to give back to the community that has supported them over the years.

Santee Mayor Randy Voepel thanked participants of Taste of Santee

City Councilmember John Minto talked about the importance of Santee Santas

Santee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Warren Savage thanked attendees

Miss Santee Teen, Nicole Ehlke, is joined by Santee Princess Michelle, Miss Congeniality, Maria Maes, and Miss Santee Teen Third Runner Up Rebecca Hudson

Incoming Chamber of Commerce President John Olsen and wife Gina

Honky Tonk Kings

A Few of the Great Restaurants Involved

Pinnacle Peak served up several barbecue specialties

Mimi’s Cafe brought some of their favorites

Olive Garden shared pasta and breadsticks

Chips and salsa from Chili’s

Rubio’s featured freshly made tacos

Don Lucio’s Taco Shop shared tacos with all the trimmings and tamales

Everyone had a fun time and Santee Santas went away with a nice collection of toys and food to help out this holiday season. Thank you to all who donated time, talent, toys, food, and everything else needed to make this a success. If you missed this year, be sure to mark the first Thursday of December 2010 so you’ll be ready.


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