Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden luminarias 2020 tickets on sale now


The holidays might look different this year due to COVID-19, but Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is keeping a Southwest tradition alive.

Las Noches de las Luminarias will take place on select nights in November and December, lighting up the night amid the garden’s 50,000 desert plants. Eight thousand luminarias and rows of twinkling lights will illuminate the plant collection and trails through New Year’s Eve.

Garden members can buy tickets now. Sales open to the general public beginning Monday, Oct. 19. Admission will be limited and reservations are required. You can reserve your dates at

What’s new this year

For the first time, there will be a “silent night” for “self-reflection and rejuvenation” that coincides with the winter solstice on Dec. 21.

While past years have featured live entertainment such as storytelling, stargazing, mariachi bands and handbell choirs, most dates this year will only have “prerecorded  sounds of the holiday season and Southwest due to capacity restrictions of venues and trails.”

There will be a limited amount of live music during the member weekend, Dec. 4-6.

A touchless photo booth will be available for visitors who want to commemorate the evening by taking photos, GIFs and Boomerang videos.

COVID-19 safety at the garden

Tickets must be reserved online or by phone ahead of time; they will not be available for purchase at the gate.

All Desert Botanical Garden staff will be wearing face coverings, and all visitors ages 6 and older are asked to wear them as well while maintaining 6 feet of distance from other groups.

As a precaution, some experiences will remain closed at the garden, including select trails, Gertrude’s Restaurant, the Cocoon, the Cactus Clubhouse and the Ottosen Gallery.

Las Noches de las Luminarias

When: 5:30-10:30 p.m. Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 17-23 and 26-31.

Where:1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix.

Admission: From $29.95, $10.95 for ages 3-17. Reservations required.

Details: 480-941-1225,

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or at 602-444-4968. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.

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Balkan House tickets on sale now


Cevapi with ajvar and kajmak from Balkan House in Hamtramck. (Photo: Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press)

The Free Press and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers have a great option for metro Detroit foodies looking to support local restaurants that have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Introducing: The Top 10 Takeout, a new dining series designed for socially distanced times.

For the next few months, we will partner with restaurants on our Best New Restaurants list as well as the Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and Restaurant of the Year Classic to provide curated multi-course meals designed for takeout — to be heated and eaten at home. 

Our third Takeout event will be held Oct. 10 at the Balkan House, the homespun restaurant in Hamtramck known for the Berlin-style döner kebab sandwich. The tickets are $30 each, which include taxes, tip, gratuity and a $2 donation to Forgotten Harvest. 

Buy tickets here. 

Enter our dining contest here.

Read more about the Balkan House here. 

Read more about Top 10 Takeout ding series here. 

Here’s the Balkan House Takeout Menu

Balkan House owner Juma Ekic plates an order of doner kebab. Her Hamtramck restaurant is the only place in metro Detroit that serves a German-style doner. (Photo: Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press)

Option A ( Beef Stew)

  • Bean Soup (Grah)
  • Ethnic Salad (Shopska)
  • Beef stew (Golash) served with white rice and grilled veggies
  • Choice of our ethnic Soda water or Orange Soda (Jupi)
  • Baklava

Option B (Chevapi )

  • Cabbage Salad (Kupus)
  • Beef Chevapi (European sausage links on a bed of home made bread with onions and Kaymak sauce.
  • Yellow Rice with veggies
  • Choice of our ethnic Soda water or Orange Soda (Jupi)
  • Baklava

Option C ( Doner Kebab)

  • Ethnic Salad (Shopska)
  • Beef/Lamb Doner Kebab sandwich
  • Yellow Rice with veggies
  •  Bean soup (Grah)
  • Choice of our ethnic Soda water or Orange Soda (Jupi)
  • Baklava

Option D (Vegan)

  • Cabbage Salad (Kupus)
  • Vegan Doner ( Our famous Doner Kebab sandwich with everything Vegan)
  • Yellow Rice with veggies
  • Bean Soup (Grah)
  • Choice of our ethnic Soda water or Orange Soda (Jupi)
  • Vegan Chocolate Cake

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Waffle House investigating wild brawl that allegedly broke out over unpaid tickets and customer’s phone

Waffle House is currently investigating the circumstances behind a wild fight that broke out between employees and customers at an unidentified restaurant.

Footage of the brawl shows at least seven individuals involved in the melee, one of whom loses her top while repeatedly striking a worker in the head.

WARNING: Footage of the brawl contains profane language and nudity. Viewer discretion is advised.

“We’re currently investigating to gather all the facts and details … and to determine what actions need to be taken, if any,” said Njeri Boss, Waffle House’s director of public relations, in a statement to Fox News.


Video of the incident was first shared to Twitter on Saturday, where it has since amassed over 4.3 million views. In it, three customers — two female and one male — can be seen arguing with staff at the register, asking them to give the male back his phone, which was allegedly being held behind the counter.

The footage, which is contains profane language and partial nudity, shows at least seven individuals involved in the melee, one of whom loses her top while repeatedly striking a worker in the head.

The footage, which is contains profane language and partial nudity, shows at least seven individuals involved in the melee, one of whom loses her top while repeatedly striking a worker in the head.

“Can I please get my g—d— phone?” the male customer says.

One of the female customers can also be heard saying something about trying to pay, at which point a male employee appears to indicate there was a discrepancy with the group’s tickets.

The male customer then walks around the counter and into the kitchen area, where employees attempt to restrain him. The two women soon follow and join the violent fracas. One of them even rips a landline out of a female employee’s hand, presumably to prevent her from calling the authorities.


This same woman later loses both her wig and her shirt and is seen punching a female employee while her own breasts are exposed. She also appears to remark that the group has “coke” so they need to leave.

In the background, a male employee has the male customer in a chokehold, while someone from the dining area yells, “Put that boy to sleep!”

The clip ends in the middle of the fight.


On Monday morning, Boss confirmed to Fox News that Waffle House was only made aware of the incident following an online report (likely this one from The New York Post), and wasn’t even sure yet of the location of the incident.

Viewers, meanwhile, appeared to have more than enough material to begin making endless jokes.


“You can always count on Waffle House,” wrote the woman who posted the original clip.

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13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio is offering $5 off coupon for its opening day tickets

Celebrate Halloween in September at 13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio, which is offering discounted tickets for its opening day.

The local attraction announced on its Facebook page Monday that its 11th season will begin Sept. 18 and run until Nov. 7. For opening night, the performance venue is allowing visitors to use a coupon code that will knock $5 off of their ticket prices.

Guests can buy their tickets online and use the code 13SAN5 for the discount. Admission prices begin at $20, according to the attraction’s website.

On its website, 13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio is asking guests to buy tickets as soon as possible because it will run at a limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO: Spirit Halloween stores opening soon in San Antonio

For its safety measures, the venue will require all of its staff, including actors, to wear a face mask while inside the haunted house. The team will also have their temperatures checked before entering the building.

The haunted house is also requiring its guests to wear face coverings while inside the building.

On its website, the attraction teased that visitors will travel through its “Dead End District,” which is known for “being a forgotten area filled with decay and filth.”

“Make your way through the streets as you encounter hordes of the living dead,” the venue wrote about its storyline. “Can you stomach the dismay long enough to survive? Or will you become one of the undead who roams the streets?”

The haunted house advertises itself as “the longest and largest haunted attraction in San Antonio.”

Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre

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