350,000 Attendees Expected for 37th Annual Balboa Park December Nights | December 5 & 6

November 29, 2014

San Diego’s favorite kick-off to the holiday season, Balboa Park December Nights will take place for the 37th year on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6. The beloved holiday event, co-produced by the City of San Diego and the Balboa Park Conservancy, features sparkling lights, multi-cultural music and dance performances, carolers, bell-ringers, choirs, bands and food throughout the Park. In the spirit of the holidays, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9pm both evenings. During December Nights, Balboa Park is transformed into a holiday wonderland with historic Park promenades, plantings and structures adorned with seasonal decorations and lights. More than 350,000 attendees are expected, making this the largest free community festival in San Diego.

At December Nights, there will be stages galore with live performances from a variety of entertainers. See the annual production of Del Cerro Baptist Church Christmas Story Tree, the House of Scotland Pipers, the Sun Harbor Chorus and many more on the Organ Pavilion Stage. Enjoy community musicians and dance troupes at the Botanical Building Stage and the Palisades Stage and good time Cajun-Zydeco sounds on the Bon Temps Dance Pavilion. There will be music and dance at Junior Theatre Stage, San Diego Civic Dance Stage, and also Civic Youth Ballet showcases excerpts from The Nutcracker on the Casa del Prado Stage, as well as music and dance from around the world at the International Cottages Stage and a host of musical performances inside many Park museums.

There is such an eclectic offering of various world foods at December Nights. International Cottages’ Christmas Festival features specialties from around the world including empanadas, egg rolls, fried plantains, pierogi, baklava, paella and pie. There are also many other food options throughout the Park, including the Prado Pub on the Square in the Plaza de Panama, and the recently opened Panama 66 restaurant.

Additional events include the 33rd year of the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the California Quadrangle near the Museum of Man. There is also enhanced lighting throughout the Park, including a magnificent lightshow on Botanical Building and the Lily Pond and the lighting of the Moreton Bay Fig Tree. There are also plenty of opportunities for distinct holiday photos throughout the Park including pictures with Santa and The Grinch.

New this year, Balboa Park December Nights kicks off “Celebrate Balboa Park 2015” the centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. During opening ceremonies in Spreckels Organ Pavilion retrospective images will be shown on giant screens throughout the Pavilion, and a spectacular surprise will set the Park aglow. “The 2015 centennial celebration will bring our city together through events that celebrate, elevate and promote Balboa Park,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.”

Visitors to December Nights can help keep Balboa Park “green” by taking the free shuttles. Free shuttle locations include

· PETCO Park and lots around Park Blvd. and Imperial Ave There are more than 2,000 parking spaces in this area. Shuttle drops off at 6th and Laurel Streets

· City College Lots between 16th and "B" Street. Parking is free. Shuttle drops off at 6th and Laurel.

· Free disabled parking at the Fleet Science Center lot and the Federal lot near the Hall of Champions.

· Shuttle service runs from 3:00- midnight on Friday and 11:30 a.m.-midnight on Saturday.

· The last shuttle leaves all sites at 8:00pm for the Park. Plan to arrive at locations before 7:00pm.

In addition, there will be optional preferred parking for $25/vehicle at the Natural History Museum parking lot and the South Carousel lot (both accessible from Park Blvd. and Village Place). Paid parking will also be available at the Inspiration Point parking lot for $20/vehicle (accessible from Park Blvd and Presidents Way). There is limited free parking at the San Diego Zoo lot.

Visitors can also take public transportation for an easy ride to Balboa Park December Nights. To create your personal trip plan visit sdmts.com or call 511 to speak to one of the Transit Information Operators.

For more information on December Nights, visit balboapark.org/decembernights.