December Nights Returns to Balboa Park this Weekend

November 30, 2017

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Photo by Roman Eugeniusz

Balboa Park will celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” with the return of December Nights, the largest free community festival in San Diego, on Friday, Dec. 1 from 3 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2 from noon to 11 p.m.

December Nights is expected to attract more than 350,000 visitors to the park over two days to revel and enjoy the season.

As in years past, the event will offer seasonal entertainment for the whole family as well as festive holiday lighting throughout the Park – from the Plaza de Panama canopy – to the Botanical Building – to the landmark Moreton Bay Fig Tree. Delicious cuisine and holiday cheer are also all part of the long-standing San Diego celebration.

There will also be complimentary admission to Balboa Park museums from 5 to 9 p.m. over the two-day celebration.

This year, December Nights is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Held the first Friday and Saturday of December, the event was founded in 1976 when 10 Balboa Park cultural organizations hosted the first celebration. That year, 3,000 San Diegans gathered to be a part of the groundbreaking occasion, and it has been a treasured event ever since.

By 2004, December Nights had grown to such size that the event was given to the City of San Diego to manage. Today, December Nights is San Diego’s largest free festival.

December Nights 2017 is produced by: The City of San Diego, including the Special Events & Filming Department, Park and Recreation Department and other City departments, in partnership with the Balboa Park Conservancy.

Established in 2011, the Balboa Park Conservancy has co produced December Nights with the City of San Diego since 2013. The Conservancy ensures the preservation and enhancement of Balboa Park’s natural, cultural, and historical assets for future generations.

This nonprofit organization provides expertise, resources, and advocacy to envision, enhance and sustain Balboa Park for all visitors in partnership with the City of San Diego and in collaboration with other organizations in the park and the community.

During the festival, there will be free and paid parking available, but public transportation is encouraged. There will also be free shuttles available departing from City College (C Street at 16th Street), and Downtown San Diego (Ash Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.) The free shuttles run from 3 p.m. to midnight on Friday and from 11:30 a.m. to midnight on Saturday.

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