December nights unite different cultures

Lights were found everywhere and really made the whole night come alive.

Kaylee Pitts, staff writer

On Dec. 7th and 8th, San Diego’s largest free community festival took place at Balboa Park. December Nights, formerly known as Christmas on the Prado, attracts over 300,000 people each year.

On December Nights, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Some of these museums include the San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Museum of Art and the Mingei International Museum.

In addition to free entrance in Balboa Park museums, December Nights offers an array of cultural food. If you’re craving Swedish meat balls, Columbian empanadas or Norwegian viking soup, December Nights doesn’t disappoint. There you can find hundreds of booths set up with food from 33 different countries.

Senior Arianna La Marca attended December Nights for the first time this year. Though she enjoyed many aspects of the event, it wasn’t difficult for her to decide on the best part of the night.

“The smell of the different foods from the different countries was my favorite part. I wanted to eat at the House of Iran, but the line was too long,” La Marca said.

Not only does the variety of food entice people to visit, but the entertainment of December Nights makes for a great night. Decorations adorn the streets of Balboa Park. A large Christmas tree lies for all to decorate and bulb lights string across lamp poles. Children sing holiday carols, dance instructors teach how to dance to popular blues music and the Civic Dance Company performs several times throughout the day.

The only downside to this event is the amount of traffic. Due to the popularity of December Nights, people all over Southern California come to Balboa Park.

“I know it’s a cool culture festival so I thought I’d check it out. I would go again, but there were a lot of people so that was kind of a deterrent,” La Marca said.

Though the park is crowded, December Nights has much to offer in regards to  delicious food, decorations, entertainment and museums. Whether you attended this year or not, don’t miss out on December Nights next year for a fun-filled night.