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San Diego Sparkles this Winter


SAN DIEGO SPARKLES DURING THE WINTER SEASON San Diego is an ideal winter getaway, offering warm weather, world-class attractions, 70 miles of sparkling beaches under sunny skies and a variety of holiday activities for visitors to enjoy. Highlights include Balboa Park's December Nights, Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" live on stage at the Tony Award®-winning Old Globe theater and college football championship bowl games. Following are just some of the many offerings that are sure to make a winter visit to San Diego merry, memorable and bright. FESTIVALS, PARADES AND LIGHT DISPLAYS The 62nd Annual Mother Goose Parade, East County's traditional holiday kick-off celebration for children, takes place on November 23 in El Cajon. San Diego County’s largest single-day event, the parade attracts thousands of spectators with floats, clowns, Santa Claus, marching bands, equestrian teams and celebrity appearances this year from Tori Spelling, San Diego Padres’ first baseman Adrian Gonzales, Christopher Knight and many more." The dazzling Holiday of Lights at Del Mar is held November 27 – January 4, 2009 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The largest animated drive-through light show on the U.S. West Coast, it includes more than 400 brilliant holiday light displays. Cultural delights abound during Balboa Park December Nights on December 4 from 5 to 10 p.m. and December 5 from noon to 10 p.m. This popular holiday event, the largest free community festival in San Diego, includes carolers, live entertainment, dance performances, children’s rides, a re-creation of a traditional Native American, free admission to more than 80 of the Park's museums and cultural organizations and delicious foods from around the world. Christmas on the Promenade at Liberty Station in Point Loma is held December 12 from 4 to 9 p.m. and December 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This free event features a winter wonderland snow hill, live performances, holiday vendors, Pet Pawrade, breakfast with Santa, Kids Zone and Christmas Tree Alley. Chula Vista’s 46th Annual Starlight Parade on December 6 at 6 p.m. features carolers, holiday cheer, floats, drill teams, marching bands, classic cars, children’s event and a visit from Santa. The La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival is held December 7 in downtown La Jolla. The event includes marching bands, floats, equestrian units, vintage automobiles and Santa Claus himself. Brightly decorated boats circle Oceanside Harbor during the 32nd Oceanside Parade of Lights on December 13. The Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights begins at 7 p.m. on December 13 on Mission Bay and includes over 100 brightly illuminated powerboats and sailboats. The parade ends with the lighting of SeaWorld San Diego's Skytower Tree of Lights at 9 p.m. During the 37th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights on December 13 and 20, more than 100 private boat owners decorate their boats with holiday lights and sail along the waters of San Diego Bay. Great views are available on dry land from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Marina Park and Coronado’s Ferry Landing. SPARKLING ATTRACTIONS During December 1 – 23, 26 – 30 and January 2 – 3, 2009, the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park in Escondido presents its last-ever Festival of Lights celebration. More than 100,000 holiday lights decorate the park with larger-than-life, animated animal figures. For a memorable look, guests can fly on Balloon Safari, comfortably floating aboard a silent, tethered helium balloon 400 feet above the Park. The celebration also includes a visit from Santa, up-close animal encounters, holiday crafts, face painting for kids and more. SeaWorld San Diego’s Holiday Celebration returns for the third year during November 28 – 30, December 6 – 7, 13 – 14 and 20 – 31. Festivities include the sea lion and otter comedy show, “Clyde and Seamore's Night Before Christmas,” and “Shamu's Holiday Night,” featuring everyone’s favorite killer whale, live choirs and musical soloists. Guests can also experience up-close encounters with holiday animals including reindeer, penguins, arctic foxes and more. Additional holiday festivities include carolers, musicians and the lighting of SeaWorld's 320-foot Holiday Tree of Lights. LEGOLAND® California, located in Carlsbad, celebrates its 10th annual Holiday Block Party during December 20 – 30. Thousands of LEGOS come together to create a massive 30-ft. tall Christmas tree decorated with hundreds of ornaments. Also, a new nightly firework spectacular celebrates the holidays around the world. In addition, a life-size LEGO display of Santa and reindeer provides a perfect holiday photo, and the real Santa is on hand December 20 – 24. CURTAIN CALLS Toes will be tapping during the 29th Annual San Diego Dixieland Jazz Festival, held November 26 – 30 at the Town & Country Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Mission Valley. The festival features live performances from more than 25 bands from the United States and Canada. America's favorite holiday fable jumps right off the pages of the classic Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for the 11th joyous year. Guests can catch this whimsical production at The Old Globe theatre in Balboa Park during November 15 – December 28. During December 2 – 28, Lamb’s Players Theatre presents its annual Festival of Christmas, a musical tradition that presents a different original play each year at its resident theatre in Coronado. Also, during December 14 – 28, Lamb’s Players Theatre presents An American Christmas at the Hotel del Coronado. Guests step inside the gorgeous hotel ballroom and are transported back to 1908 for a memorable Christmas celebration where 30 performers fill the evening with music, dance and song, all woven throughout a delicious 5-course meal. The timeless holiday classic, The Nutcracker, will be presented by The California Ballet on December 19 – 23 at the Civic Theatre in downtown San Diego and by The City Ballet of San Diego on December 7 – 9 and 14 – 16 at the historic Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego.; OUTDOOR ICE-SKATING San Diego’s downtown rink, Fantasy on Ice, adjacent to Horton Plaza, offers daily ice-skating from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during November 20 – January 4, 2009 and a tree lighting ceremony on December 3. The Hotel del Coronado offers a unique Southern California experience with Skating by the Sea, an outdoor ice-skating rink overlooking the Pacific Ocean. During November 26 – December 20, the resort’s famous Windsor Lawn is transformed into a seaside skating rink. Three-hour skating sessions are offered daily from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. with special matinee skating sessions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends and holidays. During December 21 – January 3, 2009, all skating sessions are offered daily. Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego’s East County is proud to be the home of Southern California’s largest outdoor ice-skating rink this holiday season. During November 15 – January 4, 2009, skaters can enjoy 90 minutes of skating for $12 per person, including skate rental; the rink is open until 10 p.m. nightly. On November 22 at 6 p.m., the skating rink is transformed into a winter wonderland featuring a choreographed ice skating show and Viejas’ annual holiday tree lighting ceremony. Admission is free and open to the public. CULINARY CELEBRATIONS During November 12 – 16, wine and food enthusiasts gather at The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, the region’s largest wine and culinary extravaganza. Held at venues throughout downtown San Diego, the five-day festival includes wine tasting seminars, cooking classes by James Beard and award-winning chefs and cookbook authors and an elegant Reserve & New Release Tasting event hosted by Ted Allen. Festivities culminate on Saturday, November 15 with the Grand Tasting Event, held at the waterfront Embarcadero Park North. During that day, 50 San Diego chefs show off their culinary artistry, 30 gourmet food companies offer samples of their scrumptious fare and 150 international winemakers and spirit producers pour some of the most exciting wines and spirits on the market today. The day’s event also includes a fine wine and luxury lifestyle auction, chef showdown demonstration stages, celebrity cookbook signings, entertainment and more. San Diego’s culinary community joins forces during January 11 – 16, 2009 for San Diego Restaurant Week. Hundreds of the region’s top restaurants offer prix-fixe, three-course dinner menus, at just $30 to $40 per person, so visitors can sample the signature cuisine and sophisticated style that makes San Diego’s dining scene one of the region’s top attractions. SPORTING GOOD TIME The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl presents NCAA college football post-season action on December 23 at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. The game matches a team from the Mountain West Conference against an at-large opponent. Football fans can catch another exciting post-season college football game at the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl on December 30. Festivities begin on December 29 with the Big Bay Balloon Parade at 9 a.m. along downtown San Diego's waterfront. The parade is the country's largest balloon parade featuring floats, giant inflatable balloon characters and national marching bands. The following evening, two top college teams from the PAC 10 and Big 12 square off at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. Runners compete in San Diego's oldest marathon during the Carlsbad Marathon & Half-Marathon on January 25, 2009, along a scenic course that hugs the Pacific coast. The annual PGA Buick Invitational Golf Tournament returns to Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla during February 2 – 8, 2009, featuring top players from the PGA Tour. The event includes Pro-Am and practice rounds. On February 14 – 15, 2009, the rugby world comes to San Diego for the annual IRB World Sevens Series International Rugby Tournament played at PETCO Park in downtown San Diego. The event draws 16 national teams for 44 matches in seven host cities around the country. San Diego is the only U.S. city hosting the tournament. HAPPY NEW YEAR! First Night Escondido, a New Year's Eve gala at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, includes several stages of live music, activities for guests and festive crafts. The alcohol-free event climaxes with a firewor
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