SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - August 17, 2009) - Balboa Park December Nights, San Diego's favorite kick-off to the holiday season, will take place for the 32nd consecutive year on Friday, December 4, 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 5, noon to 10:00 p.m. In the spirit of the holidays, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. both evenings. The largest free community festival in San Diego, December Nights is expected to attract more than 325,000 visitors over two days.

Entertainment, wonderful food and holiday cheer are all part of this classic and elaborate San Diego celebration. Long-standing traditions -- including food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the charming Santa Lucia Procession at the San Diego Museum of Man; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist's Christmas Story Tree and more -- fill the heart of Balboa Park. In addition, the varied museums open for free from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. both nights feature a wide variety of exhibitions and entertainment -- from the Timken Museum's annual Christmas Tree displaying the exquisite Schlappi Collection of Hord and Schlappi Christmas ornaments -- to the Reuben H. Fleet's kid-friendly and interactive Motion Mania -- to the San Diego Natural History Museum's Fossil Mysteries set to holiday music in the atrium.

The Barona Band of Mission Indians will return as a proud sponsor of December Nights. Barona will also bring back the popular "My Ancestor's Village," a re-creation of a traditional Native American village, as a tribute to the local Tribes and the important role they have played in San Diego's history. The Barona Tribe has contributed more than $275,000.00 to the event since 2005.

San Diego Gas and Electric, A Sempra Energy Utility, will once again cover the center of the Plaza de Panama with a dazzling and energy-efficient canopy of holiday lights. This canopy of lights will illuminate the Park for the entire Holiday Season.

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Balboa Park December Nights 2009 is co-produced by:

The City of San Diego - the Office of Special Events and other City departments provide festival management expertise and the Business Improvement District (BID) Council, a non-profit business association of 17 BIDs throughout San Diego, whose members manage civic special events for more than 1 million guests annually.

Balboa Park December Nights is co-hosted by:

The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a coalition of the non-profit cultural institutions in the Park serving over 6 million visitors annually; Balboa Park Central and the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department

In addition:

Del Cerro Baptist Church provides staging and lighting for the Organ Pavilion and the Community (More than 2,500 performers provide their gift of music, dance, and drama. Hundreds of volunteers from Balboa Park cultural institutions, and from the community, provide their time and talents.)

Founded in 1978, Balboa Park December Nights is the largest free community event in San Diego, attracting more than 400,000 visitors annually. The two-day festival, Balboa Park's holiday gift to San Diego, features free admission to museums and cultural attractions (from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. both evenings), international foods, multi-cultural music and dance performances, Christmas carolers, bell-ringers, choirs and bands, along with a variety of holiday-themed areas. Event hours are Friday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 10:00 p.m.

Contact Information: Press Contacts: Allison Rynne Event Manager (619) 252-9883 Debbie Petruzzelli Public Relations/Balboa Park Marketing (619) 231-9193 Public Information: 619-239-0512