East County Nightlife: Nostalgia Makes a Comeback

Your Patch guide to East County nightlife, Dec. 8-11.

Typically, only the most major East County events are worthy of mention in this column’s intro, because if it doesn’t catch your eye in a 50-word “Why Go” recap, maybe it’s not worth attending. But this week, something tremendous has happened (actually, it’s been happening for about a month and will continue to indefinitely). So fasten your seatbelts, East County children of the 1980s—Marshal Scotty’s is back!

To be clear, the entire park (Tilt-A-Whirl, water slide, Ferris wheel and all) is not reopening. In fact, it’s not even technically called Marshal Scotty’s anymore. But the go-kart section of the park has been recently renovated, re-christened as Canyon Raceway and is now open for business 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 2 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 3 to 7 p.m. Sundays.

While there’s no immediate plans for the rest of the park, just this little tidbit to satisfy our nostalgia for the good old days is enough—and it’s the only tidbit we’re ever going to get, considering the old Family Fun Center (with the awesome water slides) now rests below the 125, and Aquarius (the roller rink where hearts were broken and new love blossomed in the span of a couple’s skate) is now buried under a patch of new Ford trucks. So if you go to Marshal Scotty’s—er, Canyon Raceway—this weekend, be sure to send a silent shout-out to the park’s homies, who supplied innumerable now-30-year-olds with golden-tinged memories of East County past. 



Where/when: Grossmont College Stagehouse Theatre, 8800 Grossmont College Dr., El Cajon, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Why Go: Unless the tabloids have been sleeping on the job, Lady Gaga does not have a long-lost twin, identical in looks but completely opposite in personality. But if she did, the feature story might be along the lines of “Tata Twins: The Remix,” a production of the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department with hints of Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors.”

Price: $12.


Where/when: Sunbelt Publications, 1256 Fayette St., El Cajon, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Why Go: Let’s face it—El Cajon is no New York, what with all its fancy attractions and bustling publishing industry and all. But our beloved “box” does indeed have at least one publishing house to call its own, Sunbelt Publications, which is hosting its annual holiday party this weekend, featuring “thoughtful presentations” by local authors. Also, refreshments.

Price: Free.



Where/when: La Mesa Boulevard at Spring Street, La Mesa, 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Why Go: Also known as Decemberfest, Oktoberfest’s calmer, classier cousin, La Mesa’s annual Christmas in the Village event eschews beer gardens and live rock cover bands for bonfires, horse-drawn carriage rides, strolling minstrels, carolers and more.

Price: Free admission.


Where/when: Main Street 5 Gallery, 124 East Main St., El Cajon, 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Why Go: If “student art show” makes you think of macaroni sculptures and tissue paper collages, think again—Main Street 5’s juried student art show “Lesson Learned” features the best and brightest up-and-coming artists that could be the next Picasso or O’Keefe for all you know.

Price: Free admission.



Where/when: Sycuan Casino Showcase Theatre, 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Why Go: “Costume” bands are nothing new—from KISS to Gwar and everything in between, these bands put as much priority on spectacle as they do musical proficiency. But certainly you’ve never seen anything like Paul Revere & the Raiders, which are exactly what you imagine they are: Colonial enthusiasts with musket-fret guitars (unconfirmed, but possible). Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night joins them this Saturday.

Price: $35-$45.


Where/when: , 8861 Magnolia Ave., Santee, 9 p.m. Saturday.

Why Go: Though he hails from L.A. by way of upstate New York, Rob Staley insists he’s “real country,” playing a mix of classic country, roadhouse and honky-tonk with his new band.

Price: Free.


Where/when: , 4905 Mount Helix Dr., La Mesa, 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Why Go: The holiday spirit makes you want to do all sorts of cheesy things that your typically cynical self wouldn’t dare do during the rest of the year, like watch age-old Christmas specials on TV and send cards with kittens in Santa hats to your relatives. Caroling in public fits along these lines, so if you’re going to do it (or just watch), meet up at East County’s most notable summit for heartwarming songs and belly-warming free coffee and cocoa.

Price: Free admission.


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