Escondido, CA
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Escondido has much to brag about

ED GALLO SPEAKS

How was that slow transition from Summer to Autumn? One week it’s 95 degrees F and today 75 degrees F. Add to that the fact that Escondido sits on a granite base and earthquake fault lines are over twenty miles in either direction. Oh yes, we get some shaking now and then but I truly believe we live in God’s country. Gotta love it.

This brings me to give you more reasons to crow about this beautiful Hidden Vale as our town was described over a hundred years ago when we had the nation’s largest lemon packing plant. Alas, we don’t have the citrus any longer but we have lots of avocados and grapes with vineyards opening yearly bringing us back a hundred years ago when the grape put Escondido on the map. Number one historical item. Because of the grape industry, Escondido hosted the second largest event in Southern California, the Grape Day Festival, second only to the Parade of Roses in Pasadena.

More reasons for civic pride, in spite of some who insist on dwelling on some negative aspects which by the way almost all other communities also share. Did you know Escondido has the tallest structure in North San Diego County? That would be the flag pole at the Auto Park. Speaking of tall, when I moved here in 1973 the hospital was the tallest building in town. Today, even with the tremendous growth we have seen in the past 50 years with land mass and population, the hospital is still the tallest building in town albeit the new facility.

Escondido is home to two of the three biggest tourist attractions in North County. Safari Park and Stone Brewing and Bistro join Legoland as the top three. Cruisin’ Grand is the number one cruise night in the country drawing visitors from across the US and foreign countries. Palomar Medical Center is a state of the art medical facility recognized nationwide. Not many, if any, cities in the nation can lay claim to a 3,000 acre preserve known as Daley Ranch and Lake Dixon has a worldwide reputation as a great bass fishing spot. Remember Dolly?

The California Center for the Arts, Escondido is a jewel boasting the best acoustics west of the Mississippi and has hosted numerous noted artists both in performing and visual arts. They are now celebrating 25 years of activities. Congratulations CCAE. We boast the longest running Christmas Parade in the county hosted by the Escondido Jaycees since 1951. And, it is the largest such parade in the county, maybe all of Southern California. I was fortunate to have chaired four and also the Centennial Parade in 1988.

North County Fair, oops Westfield North County, is one of the top 100 enclosed malls in the country. Old timers still refer to the mall as North County Fair or just “the mall.” The mall opened with six major tenants the first such opening in history. Most malls open with four and a few with five. The Escondido Transit Center is one of three multi-modal transit hubs in the county offering transportation options with buses and trains. Not just from NCTD but MTS from San Diego and also a bus from Riverside County.

This is interesting. The University of Southern California, in 1886, built a Methodist Church on Grand Avenue and a seminary school on the hill at Hickory Street and 4th Avenue. Now all the Trojan faithful can point with pride to the USC/Escondido connection. Fight On!

Escondido can point with pride at having a true downtown main street with a host of historical buildings and an unmatched ambiance. The name Grand Avenue was chosen because before the center median was installed in the late 1960’s it was in fact a grand avenue. The median was installed as a result of the first enclosed mall in California opening on E. Valley Pkwy some years earlier. The hope was to boost the retail activity. This is just a sampling of so much to brag about in Escondido. Do it.   

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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