This year, Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs is showcasing the greatest number of lights the exhibit has seen to date: over 4 million. Last year, around 2 million lights were featured. The event, which is open through Dec. 31, was created by the Gardens staff in 2001 and is noted as one of the first gardens in the nation to do a winter holiday light display such as this. The exhibit has grown over the years and Sherre Freeman, who works at the Gardens, sent a news release this way outlining some interesting facts about Holiday Lights. Below are some of the notes she sends:
-Holiday Lights is the brainchild of Associate Executive Director Bob Byers. Byers directed the installation of the exhibit the first year, which consisted of about 500,000 lights in the form of intricately light-wrapped trees in the Gardens and some simple metal pole trees created in the Gardens’ workshop and strung with lights.
-Garvan hired Lucy Bright in 2003 as the first part-time dedicated Holiday Lights employee, and she began to design the 3-dimensional displays that Holiday Lights are known for. For the next decade, the Gardens continued to add displays such as blooming flowers, butterflies in flight, gingerbread men, toy soldiers, and other woodland features like mushrooms, turtles, and even an ice palace.
-The number of lights has increased as the years have gone by, with each year seeing new original designs and more lights. The Holiday Lights display has expanded in area, too, and now covers about 17 acres in the Gardens.
-Last year, the 50-foot tall musical animated Schueck Steel Holiday Tree was added to the display. It presents a 15-minute music and light show in the center of the future rose garden. It has over 125,000 lights, and is run by 320 animated channels on 12 computers that are custom-sequenced to each musical number. The tree was built primarily by volunteers, and is constructed of 28,000 feet (over 5 miles) of linear steel.
Holiday Lights is open through December 31 and closed on Christmas day Lights go on at 5 p.m. nightly and admission is free for members, $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 ( those that are under 5 get in free) and there is free parking too. For more details visit garvangardens.org. The Gardens are located at 550 Akridge Road.