El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Ana Nita

At first, people could mistake her for a street vendor displaying her merchandise on the scorching hot asphalt in the parking lot in front of the El Cajon library. Redd is not selling anything. Redd is giving everything away. The homeless people who sleep in their cars on the lot or hang out across the street on the Promenade come in waves, knowing that today is Redd’s day.

It’s 5:30 AM on Saturday morning, a day when the temperatures are predicted to soar over 100 degrees, a day to keep the pets inside, and Lakeside is still sleeping, except for a handful of determined early risers. Minding their own business under their straw cowboy hats, they pull horse trailers and trucks on Moreno Avenue and unload tents, bales of hay, cooking supplies, tables and such. The Cowboy Challenge event is going to start soon and the gates are open for the competitors at 7:30 a.m.

A couple of miles down on the El Monte Road in Lakeside, you are going to lose your cell signal and may have to rely on your observational skills not to miss the big metal canister on the side of the road functioning as a directional prompt to slow down your horsepower and turn left on the dusty country road toward the Van Ommering dairy farm. Did you know pumpkins are fruits, 90 percent water and have family ties with the Squashes?

Typically closed to the public, the Allen Airways Flying Museum at Gillespie Field in El Cajon made an exception on Tuesday to host the second free edition of the Manufacturers Expo and Resource Fair.  Gathering almost 40 manufacturing companies mainly from the East County, community partners and local workforce, the fair aims to bridge a gap between businesses and the resources available.

“Sons of Charity” (SOC) calls them “the warrior kids,” and Sam Diego, the founder and president of this local non-profit organization, wears silly costumes to impress and inspire them, whether they are recovering on a hospital bed or during a music festival like the one organized last weekend at the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon. Tribuu Music Festival had its first annual edition as a fundraising event merging the idea of supporting tribute bands and singers with the main goal of raising funds to help out children battling cancer and their families.

It’s the Artist of the Month evening at the Lakeside Library and the chosen one for September is Nyx Sanguino. With a presence to match her name, originated from the Latin word “sanguineus” that gave us “sanguine” people and sweet “sangria,” the exhibit holds the essence of blood, passion, and joy in the color of fire.

“The purchase of the Lakeside property for the new Library passed on consent calendar, meaning no one pulled the item for public comment.” Migell Acosta, San Diego County Library director brought this good news, who confirmed that last week the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of new land for the new Lakeside library. The two acres lot is part of a four-acre available parcel on Woodside Ave and Channel Road, next to Ottavio’s Italian restaurant, and it will also be accessible from Parkside Street.

More than a century ago, East County San Diego was one of the world premiere locations for movie making, starting with silent productions filmed in Lakeside by the American Film Manufacturing Company, also known as Flying “A” Studios, with famous Allan Dwan as a director. First ever movies to be completed in Lakeside are “A Daughter of Liberty” and “A Trooper’s Heart,” both released on May 25, 1911 under Flying “A” Studios tutelage.

Dressed like a schoolmaster, but maybe hiding a ruffian, the man’s glittery blue eyes are staring from behind his spectacles and a black felt Stetson brim with a sparkling silver band. He’s pulling a card from the “shoe,” used by “Faro” bankers to keep their hopefully square deck of cards. Grey vest, long wool black coat, teal blue printed tie, long piano player fingers dancing between the abacus look-alike “case keep” and the loosing lady’s copper on the table; so who is this fast “Faro” gambler?

Last Saturday, there was no better way to tear the kids away from their electronics, other than by promising they could get dirty head to toes in a vat full of grapes. Stomping the grapes is a traditional way of smashing the fruits to make wine, although the wineries now days use modern technologies to separate the skin from the grape. Many of us still remember the famous scene performed by Lucy Ball in “Bitter Grapes” where she ends up in a wrestling match with another woman inside the vat.