A Hot Springs attraction is about to "light up" with a brightness only the holidays can bring.
The approximately 1.8 million bulbs have been tested; the displays have been synchronized; and, the music has been orchestrated, all in preparation for Garvan Woodland Gardens’ much anticipated Lights on the Landscape – one of Arkansas’ most elaborate and festive holiday events.
It will be open November 20 through December 31, and the lights will be on nightly from 5 to 9 p.m., excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Garden staff and volunteers began the tedious process of installing the lights on September 1 and have contributed more than 3,000 man-hours to the project.
Click here for more on the display from today's KARK 4 News at Noon Gardening with Janet Carson report.
“I can tell you without hesitation that the lighting show wouldn’t be possible if not for the time and talent donated by more than 25 loyal volunteers,” stated the Gardens’ holiday lights manager, James Scallion. “They complement the efforts of the staff and collectively make an invaluable team.”
Scallion is particularly proud of the Gardens’ newest holiday display: an 8-feet wide by 16-feet long, fabricated train engine with animated smoke puffing from the stack and sound effects. The engine is child-friendly, allowing youngsters to sit in the engineer’s seat and pull levers, while ringing the all-aboard bell. A small depot, donated by the Hot Springs Grow and Show Garden Club, completes the authentic look of the train display, situated on the lawn behind the Garvan Pavilion.
In addition to the train engine, visitors will also see “growing” tulips, a fabricated swan floating on the koi pond in the Garden of the Pine Wind, dozens of meticulously wrapped trees, and many other one-of-a-kind, lighted displays.
According to Scallion, one of the most frequently asked questions by visitors is how much electricity it takes to illuminate the million plus lights. He is quick to respond, “Not nearly as much as in years past.”
In 2009, the Gardens began transitioning from incandescent strands of lights to the more energy efficient LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs, which are much brighter and use less wattage. Prior to using LED lights, the amount of electricity necessary to generate the holiday event was equivalent to electrifying almost 7,000 refrigerators. This year, fewer than 3,000 refrigerators would be operational, thanks to the LED varieties.
“If we can save money and wattage at the Gardens by using energy smart tools, just image what homeowners can accomplish when they adopt the same practices,” stated Scallion.
Garvan Woodland Gardens is a department of the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture and is located in Hot Springs on a 210-acre, Lake Hamilton peninsula. The organization has non-profit status and generates its operating revenue through admissions, special events, memberships, and private donations.
Cost to attend Lights on the Landscape is $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for children ages 6 to 12, and it's free for ages 5 and younger. Members of the garden will be admitted free of charge.
Visitors with physical limitations may choose to view the lights via a golf cart for an additional fee of $5.00 per person. Golf carts rides are on a first come, first served basis.
Complimentary hot chocolate will be served each evening after viewing the lights. In addition, the Chipmunk Café will be open each night, serving homemade soups, chili, sandwiches and a variety of items for children.
The Gardens’ operating hours will be 12 noon to 9 p.m. daily starting November 20 through the last day of the holiday lights display on December 31. The attraction will be closed the month of January for maintenance and will re-open February 1, 2011.
Click here for information about Lights on the Landscape or call these numbers: (501)262-9300 or 800-366-4664.