Volunteer for December Nights 2018!



During December Nights, the Japanese Friendship Garden entrance plaza turns into a pop-up restaurant that's run by our staff and volunteers. Between our famed yakisoba chefs, assembly crew, cashiers, drinks handlers and more, we wow the crowds with quick service and delicious foods. It's a thrilling way to knock out community service hours and make some new friends in the process!

Are you ready to join our team of volunteers in running an exciting, fast-paced yakisoba restaurant? Sign up below! 


Thank you so much for choosing to volunteer at December Nights! The JFG is extremely grateful for each and every volunteer taking time out of their busy schedules to assist us in our grand quest to serve hundreds of pounds of yakisoba. We hope you enjoy your experience with us!

December Nights is a two-day festival that spans the entirety of Balboa Park and involves a variety of food booths, performances, gorgeous holiday decor and more! This year, it takes place on Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th. An estimated 350,000 guests are expected to attend this year over the course of both days. Visit the official December Nights webpage to learn more.

The Japanese Friendship Garden's yakisoba booth is one cog in the giant machine that is December Nights, but we still rely on large numbers of volunteers to ensure that we're able to deliver food to our waiting guests smoothly and efficiently. This is a high-intensity, fast-paced volunteer experience. You'll be on your feet for the full 5-6 hours of your shift. Eat well and rest well prior to your shift - and you'll have the time of your life!


GETTING TO THE FESTIVAL IS DIFFICULT, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE. December Nights is notorious for creating enormous traffic jams on both days and we highly recommend getting dropped off by an Uber/Lyft driver or friend/family. Public transportation is also an option. Otherwise, a number of remote parking lots with shuttles leading into Balboa Park are also being arranged by the City of San Diego. There is very little parking available within Balboa Park, and surrounding streets will be similarly occupied.


Please check your shift information at the JFG Signup.com link. You will receive an automated reminder two days prior to your shift that will include the position name, date and time. We ask that all volunteers are flexible in moving from position to position depending on volunteer needs. Volunteers are permitted to sign up for one shift per day, even if they plan to arrive early or stay past the end of their shift.


All volunteers are required to sign a liability waiver & conduct agreement upon arrival. IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE, A PARENT/GUARDIAN MUST SIGN THE WAIVER AS WELL. You may find a blank copy of the waiver at this link here. Please download and bring a signed hard copy on the day of your shift.


If you need to cancel your shift, please remove yourself from your position on the JFG Signup.com link as soon as possible. Please try to commit to your shift as much as possible. We understand that emergencies and last-minute cancellations are inevitable, but this event relies heavily on its volunteers. No volunteers, no yakisoba booth!


The JFG is happy to work with small or large volunteer groups. Please email the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator at volunteer@niwa.org for sign-up instructions.


  • Each volunteer will have a 20-minute break. There will be Yakisoba and small snacks for all volunteers who support us for this event. 

  • Go Green! Japanese Friendship Garden is a proud partner of the Balboa Park Sustainability Program. To support our green effort, please try to bring reusable liquid containers and plates to minimize waste. We will have warm tea and coffee for our volunteers, so we recommend you to bring hot/cold beverage bottles.

  • Volunteers who require letters or signatures for community service hours must sign in&out and stay for entire their shift to receive credit. Otherwise, we cannot verify that you completed your hours.  

  • Stay Warm! San Diego evenings can get chilly. Wear simple and comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting dirty.

  • Wear comfortable closed-toe shoes as you will be on your feet for the entirety of your shift. Due to Food Safety requirements, all volunteers must wear closed toe shoes.

  • Please Minimize Your Belongings! Personal belongings may be stored in the volunteer check-in and rest area, but the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged personal items.

  • We encourage volunteers to explore other booths and performances at December Nights but not during their shifts or lunch breaks. Please plan to attend the festival itself before or after your shift.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator at volunteer@niwa.org. Thank you so much for choosing to volunteer with the JFG - see you all at the 2018 December Nights!

Banner Photo Credit: Yasuhiro Fujiki