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Balboa Park Readies For December Nights, Rain Or Shine

Video by Katie Schoolov

Crews set up for the estimated 350,000 people expected to show at the 35th annual "December Nights" holiday festival, rain or shine.

Balboa Park was transformed into a Winter Wonderland on Friday, as crews set up for the 35th annual "December Nights" holiday festival.

Tents were raised to sell everything from art to bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and lights were strung throughout the park in anticipation of more than 350,000 visitors.

Museums will be open to the public from 5-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

In the organ pavilion, the life-size Nativity scene was already set up and music and dance performances will take place in front of the 40-foot Christmas tree donated by Del Cerro Baptist Church. Church volunteer Robert Douglas has helped decorate it with 25,000 lights for the past 10 years.

"It's the beginning of the Christmas season," Douglas said. "I, in fact, take a week off work just to participate in the tree."

A choir and orchestra will give a "Christmas Story" performance — with a special surprise inside the tree itself — on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. December Nights will go on despite any rain, but Douglas says they will have to cancel the performance if it is raining heavily.

"Although I must admit, in my 10 years, I've seen miracles happen, where it's raining before, we put on the show, and then the rain started right when we finished," Douglas said.

December Nights goes until 11 p.m. on Friday, and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.

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