Around Lakeside – Celebrating the holidays in Lakeside

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There’s something about this time of year that brings out the joy of “small town” living. Whether we are here by choice or by circumstance, the holidays remind us of how fortunate we are to live in Lakeside. Leave it to the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our good fortune with its annual Spirit of Christmas event on Dec. 3.

There’s something about this time of year that brings out the joy of “small town” living. Whether we are here by choice or by circumstance, the holidays remind us of how fortunate we are to live in Lakeside. Leave it to the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our good fortune with its annual Spirit of Christmas event on Dec. 3.

Instead of rubbing elbows with the hundreds of thousands of strangers in Balboa Park, the streets of Downtown Lakeside were packed with hundreds of local friends and neighbors and smiles. This is such a great hometown event: the local high school band (El Capitan High School, of course) marched down Maine Avenue, playing Christmas music and announcing the arrival of Santa Claus himself. The Clauses and friends paused at the 120-year old Community Church (owned and operated by the Lakeside Historical Society) to witness the lighting of the official town Christmas Tree, shining in all its glory. There were local students singing Christmas carols on stage and booths up and down Maine Avenue for food, community vendors and organizations – all surrounded by Lakesiders enjoying the cool fresh air with their friends and families. So much to see: Billy Ortiz selling his “Outlaw Photography” pictures, the Manzanita 4-H Club hosting a petting zoo for kids, community members stopping to talk with friends and neighbors they hadn’t seen for a while. Yes, it’s the time of year to be thankful for what we have and for the community in which we live. Thank you to the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce for the great holiday party!

Breakfast with Santa

Christmas kicked off early this past Saturday morning for dozens of families who attended the annual “Breakfast with Santa” at the Lakeside Community Center on Dec. 3. Once again, Ashley Westbrook and her hard-working staff at the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department sponsored another great event for local children, who got to spend a special morning with Santa Claus. Families enjoyed a hot breakfast, as well as arts and crafts and other fun entertainment.  And who better to cook for the kids but members of the Lakeside Fire District, a co-sponsor of the event that has been produced for about a decade now. Deputies from the Sheriff Department’s Lakeside Substation were also on hand to support and assist.

Santa got there bright and early, but not before the excited crowd had to sing a few verses of “Jingle Bells” to encourage his appearance. The event went until about 10:30 a.m. and was very well attended.

In another example of the community supporting its own, most of the event sponsors were local businesses: Leo’s Pharmacy, Payton’s True Value Hardware, Reflections Salon & Day Spa, Mary’s Donuts, and the aforementioned Lakeside Fire District and Lakeside Sheriff’s Substation. Other supporters included Costco, the San Diego Chargers, and Ultrazone San Diego Laser Tag. And all had a good time!

Woman’s Club of Lakeside

The Woman’s Club of Lakeside has been around for a long time. While they are not specifically a holiday item, the Club’s sense of community and giving certainly makes them a good topic for discussion during the holidays.

Our Woman’s Club was organized way back in 1910 (that makes it 106 years old!) and has been actively involved in community service ever since. For example, members of the Sewing Group get together every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Olde Community Church (9906 Maine Avenue) and work on a host of individual and group projects. One of their most recent ventures was for “Love on a Leash,” a non-profit, national pet therapy organization. 

Love on a Leash makes it their mission is to brighten someone’s day.  Therapy pets and their handlers visit nursing homes, hospitals and schools to provide emotional support. They also visit libraries, day-care centers and special education classrooms, serving as a teaching tool and enriching educational goals. 

The Woman’s Club worked tirelessly to produce and donate 70 handmade doggie quilts to the group. “Love on a Leash” used these quilts for the residents of the less affluent facilities they visit. 

The Woman’s Club has also created similar blankets for use in the local animal shelters. In fact, when a dog gets adopted from the East County Animal Shelter, the canine gets to take one of these quilts to its new home.

It’s not just quilts and blankets at the Woman’s Club. The organization was recently awarded an honorary membership to the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, described as “a diverse group of volunteers with something very important in common: a deep love and concern for children.” Our Lakeside ladies were recognized for their ongoing contributions in the form of 450 surgery dolls, 139 burp cloths and receiving blankets, and 184 pillowcases. All these items created by hand and contributed by the Woman’s Club of Lakeside!

As an organization, the Woman’s Club of Lakeside meets monthly at the Olde Community Church, on the fourth Thursday at 12:00 noon. Membership dues are $25 annually. Check out their website at www.womanscluboflakeside.org or give them a call at (619) 561-3041.

Lakeside Bits & Pieces

Don’t forget the Breakfast with Santa event at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds on Saturday, December 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. … Crema Dolce, a cannoli and coffee shop on Maine Avenue, has apparently closed its doors … The Lakeside Burger King plans to remodel its building in Downtown Lakeside; plans call for a standard upgrade (already seen in other parts of the county) … The Lakeside Neighborhood Healthcare Center on Vine Street is expanding with a new 16-space parking lot adjacent to their building; unfortunately, they had to demolish a 75-year old house on Laurel Street to do so.

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