Sunday, December 7, 2014

The agony and ecstasy of December Nights

This past Friday and Saturday, San Diego's Balboa Park hosted our annual December Nights celebration.  Spanish Village and all the museums stay open till 11 PM both nights, and the park is filled with food booths, live music performances, thousands (millions?) of twinkling lights, even a zip-line ride for the first time this year -- and about 300,000 people when the two days are added together.  

Along with my amazing husband (who didn't have to be there but chose to) and several of my studio partners, I worked the 3-11 shift both nights in Studio 40.  Many people came in to look, arriving in waves, with the studio empty in between just long enough for us to catch our breaths and sit down for a moment.  A few of them even bought some art from us.  

We chatted with everyone, kept a vigilant eye out for shoplifting, and frequently visited the hot cider/hot chocolate booth opposite us and the kettle corn booth right behind that.  There were tedious hours, and some exhilarating moments.  Finally, each night, we brought all the work back inside, locked up, and limped back to our cars near midnight, footsore and completely exhausted.

The studio looked great, filled with our work and all dressed up for the holidays, with a "teaser" table out front.  Now it's back to normal hours (11-4 daily except Christmas and New Year's Day), with hope that locals and tourists will holiday shop till our shelves are all but empty, leaving us in the black and busy making new work come January.

(This year's December Nights also marked the kick-off for the 2015 celebration of the centennial of Balboa Park, which was created out of chaparral-covered hills for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.  Many special events and exhibits are planned through the year.  Check out the park's list of centennial events and exhibits.)