35th annual 'December Nights' festival begins at Balboa Park

More than 300K San Diegans expected to attend

SAN DIEGO - The 35th annual "December Nights" holiday festival began Friday afternoon in Balboa Park.

The two-day event will feature museums open for free, along with live holiday music and theatrical performances.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said around 300,000 San Diegans are expected to attend over the course of the two days.

"This is our premiere event in Balboa Park," Gloria said. "For all the festivities, please plan on taking public transit or shuttling in from Petco Park or City College."

Transit information is available at balboapark.org, he said. The event also has a Twitter feed at @decembernights.

The event will take place from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. The free shuttles will run until midnight each night.

Free museum hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., but lines to get in are usually extremely long.

Among the December Nights highlights:

-- opening ceremonies, Friday at 6:15 p.m., featuring the lighting of the Christmas tree on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion
-- Del Cerro Baptist Church's annual production of "The Christmas Tree Story" will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and 8:50 p.m. Saturday
-- the Santa Lucia Procession, which celebrates the arrival of the Winter Solstice and Saint Lucy, will be held at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. each night in the courtyard of the Museum of Man

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