If you’re looking for something fun to do before you start trimming the Thanksgiving turkey and making mashed potatoes, check out some of the great events this weekend. Head to East County for the annual Mother Goose Parade. Get into the Christmas spirit with tree lighting ceremonies in Santee and Fashion Valley. Learn all about kelp at the Birch Aquarium. Or get artsy and crafty at the Encinitas Fall Festival. Have a great weekend!

mother goose parade

Photo: Mother Goose Parade Association

San Diego

Pet Pals
Get ready to meet and learn about animals at the San Diego Humane Society. Fri., 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., San Diego Humane Society, $10/person. Ages 6 – 12. Event details.

Tree Lighting at Fashion Valley Mall
Join Santa during Fashion Valley’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony as he flips the switch to light the grand tree! Afterwards, enjoy children’s crafts, refreshments, and a festive show by the Salvation Army brass band as they perform popular holiday carols. The first 200 revelers in line to make the nice list will receive Fashion Valley swag bags filled with retailer surprises. Fri., 7 – 8:30 p.m., Fashion Valley Mall – Prada Court, Free. All ages. Event details.

San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
Looking for a fun idea for Girls Night Out or Date Night? Make plans to visit the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival. Celebrate twelve years of decadence at the West Coast’s most talked about wine and culinary celebration. This year’s action-packed line-up features cooking classes, tasting panels, celebrity chef dinners, and multiple tasting events showcasing San Diego’s fresh and flavorful food scene and the chefs that make it happen. Fri. – Sun., Times vary by day, Embarcadero Marina Park North, Cost varies. Ages 21 and up. Event details.

North County

Encinitas Fall Festival
The festival features more than 450 booths showcasing arts, crafts, gifts, food and more. Live music will be playing at three venues, Lumberyard Courtyard Stage, Pacific Station Stage and Community Stage. Sun., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Downtown Encinitas, Free, All ages. Event details.

SEA Days: Kelp Kornucopia
Learn how people and ocean creatures depend on seaweed and kelp. Watch an interactive kelp tank dive show and get ready to feel the slimy kelp up close. Sat., 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Birch Aquarium at Scripps, $12.50 – $17/person (ages 2 and under free). All ages. Event details.

Royal Academy of Performing Arts Winter Wonderland
Nothing says winter like a magical journey with The Nutcracker. After enjoying this classic ballet, guests will enjoy a performance by a dance company featuring different genres of dance. Sat., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Mandeville Auditorium, UC San Diego, $18.50/person. All ages. Event details.

East County

Santee Holiday Lighting Celebration
Santa’s Holiday Lighting Celebration will feature the lighting of a 20-foot tall tree, Santa’s visit, ice skating on a 2,400-square-foot ice rink, a live band, caroling, holiday-themed crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, kids’ activities, and more. Fri., 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., Santee Trolley Square, Free, All ages. Event details.

Mother Goose Parade
This annual celebration features floats, marching bands, equestrians, clowns, drill teams, celebrities, and more. Sat., 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Downtown El Cajon, Free, All ages. Event details.

What are you doing this weekend? Tell us in the comments!

– Leah R. Singer