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KPBS Midday Edition

December Nights returns as drive-thru event for second year

December Nights, Balboa Park, 2014
Milan Kovacevic
December Nights, Balboa Park, 2014

A yearly San Diego holiday tradition is again being altered due to the pandemic and the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron. The Balboa Park December Nights festival is returning as Taste of December Nights for the second year in a row. Just like last year, the event will be an in-car, drive-thru experience, with food vendors, food trucks and entertainment.

The city of San Diego special events and filming department executive director, Natasha Collura spoke with KPBS Midday Edition about why the city decided to continue the event as a drive-thru experience again this year.

"The drive-thru is designed to keep everybody safe and to eliminate the crowds and the interactions between all the individuals," Collura said.

Collura said the event was designed around the county's public health COVID-19 safety guidelines.

"We feel that this is actually a great opportunity for those who are concerned and who want to remain cautious," Collura said. "This is an alternative to perhaps other events because it keeps them safe in their vehicles and provides them an opportunity to get out and celebrate the holidays."

Collura said the traditional December Nights festival usually brings in around 350,000 people over two days, so the drive-thru event was designed to ensure that everyone stays in their cars.

There is also an opportunity for people who don't have a car to attend the event. "There is an option, a very limited option for those who do not have access to a vehicle," Collura said. "We do have electric carts that will be driving through, and people can queue up and wait for a cart."

"Taste of December Nights" will be happening from Friday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Inspiration Point parking lots near Balboa Park.