This year, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens will present its sixth annual Gardens Aglow, but due to safety concerns surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic, the event will be a drive-through experience, rather than a walking tour.
“We wanted to find a safe way of continuing and honoring what’s become an annual tradition for so many families,” said Gardens’ President and CEO Gretchen Ostherr. “Our committee has worked hard to map out the safest, most accessible route, taking traffic and congestion very much into consideration.”
To ensure that traffic will flow smoothly, CMBG decided to install 50-car limits in timed-ticketing intervals of 15 minutes. Projections are that traffic flow will be less than in previous years. “This system will help us avoid backups onto the road,” explained Ostherr. “We’ll see roughly 1,000 cars per night versus the 2,200 cars per night we saw last year.”
Information about ticket prices will be available soon. Tickets will be sold by the car, not by the individual. Due to height restrictions along the route, only passenger vehicles will be allowed to participate – no buses, mini-buses, limos, or campers. Tickets, bought in advance, will be for a specific date and time. We ask everyone’s cooperation in arriving at their designated date and time. This will be essential to providing a positive guest experience for everyone.
Because this is a drive-through only event, guests will remain in their cars, making the event safe in light of COVID-19 restrictions. While the Gardens is still finalizing details, the event timeline will be similar to the schedule in previous years.
A driving tour, rather than a walking tour, means Gardens’ staff have had to reenvision the display, but it’s giving them the opportunity to get creative and produce something new – even for those who have made Gardens Aglow their holiday tradition. There will be the annual Community Lighting Contest, so anyone who might be considering an entry, please start planning now.
Entrants in the contest will be included on a comprehensive map which will be available on the Gardens Aglow website. Visitors will be able to use the map to tour the peninsula and extend their seasonal outing. They can even vote for their favorite displays; winners in both the residential and business categories will be determined by popular vote.
Gardens Aglow has become a firm tradition in Maine’s seasonal calendar. Working together with Boothbay Lights will ensure that, once again, the Boothbay peninsula will be the place to be for wintertime cheer. More information will be available soon at GardensAglow.org
At nearly 325 acres, CBMG in Boothbay is the largest public garden in New England. CMBG was voted #1 on TripAdvisor. The nationally recognized public garden’s mission is to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants and nature through horticulture, education and research. Visit MaineGardens.org.
“This has been a challenging year,” added Ostherr. “But for the health of our region, our organization, and the families who look forward to this seasonal event, this year’s Gardens Aglow will go forward: Warm, safe, and accessible to all.”