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Stagecoach Sunday celebrates 27th year with new auction, fundraising goals

FALLBROOK – Unique travel destinations, a scenic flight over Fallbrook, and a wine tasting tour at a local vineyard are just a few of the new "live auction" items that will be awarded to lucky bidders this Sunday, Oct. 1, during the Fallbrook Land Conservancy's (FLC) annual fundraiser, Stagecoach Sunday.

In addition to the live auction, there will also be a silent auction and raffle where participants can bid on golf and fitness packages, coupons to amusement parks and other attractions, unique art and handicrafts, and certificates to restaurants, businesses and services.

While proceeds from the event traditionally go towards operating costs, the FLC hopes this year's expanded auction format will also help kick start a new project in the works to install trail markers at Monserate Mountain, one of the 11 local nature preserves owned and managed by the nonprofit organization.

The goal of the project is to install markers every quarter mile along the Monserate Mountain trail, mirroring the 110-story climb of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives when the World Trade Center's twin towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001. Since 2003, the Fallbrook Firefighters have organized a Memorial Hill Climb in September at Monserate honoring the memory of those firefighters. Proceeds from the event are shared between the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Homes For Our Troops.

In addition to honoring the firefighters, the trail marker project would help rescue workers locate hikers in distress. Located just east of Interstate 15 at Stewart Canyon and Pankey Road (now named Horse Creek Ridge), the trail system at Monserate consists of a 3.5-mile trail straight up the mountain and a five-mile loop around a water tank. The preserve is visited by upwards of 20,000 hikers annually.

"We've had a number of calls and rescues on Monserate Mountain," said Brandon Lucore, who has assisted the FLC with the project and recently retired as Division Chief of Operations for the North County Fire Protection District. "Having an accurate idea of where someone is will absolutely improve our ability to get to them quicker, but also helps responders make proactive decisions regarding access points, resource and equipment needs."

The trail marker project has been approved by California Fish and Wildlife, and an Eagle Scout candidate has proposed the construction of 20 dual-sided markers. Palomar College Global Information Systems (GIS) interns will also be involved in mapping the GPS coordinates for the markers, working with the North County Fire Department to incorporate them into their EMS mapping system.

Stagecoach Sunday starts at 1 p.m. at the historic Palomares House and Park where, in addition to the auction, visitors can enjoy a slow-cooked barbeque dinner by Firehouse Que & Brew and a "saloon" catered by Fallbrook Brewing Company. There will also be authentic stagecoach rides from G & F Carriages, several nature exhibits and information booths, animal demonstrations by Pacific Animal Productions, and a Kids' Corral offering carnival games, crafts, face painting, pumpkin decorating and more.

Highland Way, a popular Celtic band, will perform live throughout the afternoon, with the event ending at 4:30 p.m. While parking and admission are free, several ticket packages are available starting at $35 for two adult dinner tickets, eight $1 drink tickets and eight $1 raffle tickets (a $38 value).

Gary Beeler, Stagecoach Sunday chairman, is looking forward to another great turnout.

"Stagecoach Sunday is our longest, ongoing community-centered fundraiser," said Beeler. "We're hoping as many people as possible will come out and enjoy this fun afternoon for a good cause."

Megan Gamble, auction chair, thanked in advance "all of the volunteers and donors, past and present, who've made this event a success for 27 years."

Tickets can be ordered online and are also available on the day of the event. Pre-ordered tickets will be ready for pickup at the Will Call table.

For more information, visit or call 760-728-0889.


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