Gardens Aglow preview event was magical

Posted:  Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 9:30am

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens' Gardens Aglow opened to a wide-eyed, appreciative crowd of hundreds Thursday, Nov. 17 at its special preview event, before the spectacular light display opened to the public on Nov. 18. Last year's display drew 36,000 visitors.

Over 360,000 lights have been strung up by staff and volunteers.

After enjoying cocktails, wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres, including little cups of lobster bisque, the crowd gathered outside for some remarks from Executive Director William Cullina. He asked for a round of applause for the staff and volunteers who helped string up the approximately 32 miles of lights. After a countdown from 10 to one, chanted by most in attendance, thousands of lights came on, over and above the thousands that were already wowing the crowd, immersing the crowd in a dramatic light show that had to be seen to be believed.

The crowd dispersed and people were free to wander around the central gardens and paths and enjoy the largest LED light display in Maine. Comments overheard from some of the people walking around with looks of wonder and disbelief ranged from “This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen,” and “This is magical,” to “How could they possibly have strung up so many lights?”

Nancy Allen said, “I was in a winter wonderland when seeing the lights for my first time.”

The light show will be open to visitors through Dec. 31. Visitors are encouraged to buy tickets online to save money, and to help regulate the flow of traffic in and out of Gardens Aglow. Tickets purchased on-site will be $2 more than those purchased online.

Director of Marketing Kris Folsom anticipates up to 50,000 visitors.

Enjoy some photos from the Nov. 17 event here; and go to the Gardens Aglow preview event photo gallery for more photos.

Visit the Gardens Aglow website for more information.