VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights 2012 Christmas Celebration Connects People to the Natural Environment for the Holiday Season in Vancouver
Rocking Christmas Songs Dancing Lights Show
The VanDusen Festival of Lights is a Christmas event that many nature-lovers have been waiting for to start the holiday season.
One of the guiding principles of the VanDusen Garden has always been to connect people to plants and the natural environment. Year-round, visitors have come here to appreciate and learn about conservation, gardening, plant lives and stories, nutrition, pollination, adopt a tree, birding in the garden and many more.
The VanDusen Garden is also a popular spot for wedding couples getting hitched.
Although there are more than 100 events happening all year, don’t think that during winter the garden would be in hibernation. No, December happens to be the busiest time of the year.
To celebrate Christmas and the Yuletide season, the garden comes alive with more than a million light bulbs illuminating all vegetation and the surrounding enclave. 1.4 million lights to be exact.
Nancy Wong, VanDusen Garden’s Public Relations Director, proudly pointed out that volunteers counted each light bulb every year and made sure they were working before putting them on.
The Festival of Lights is an extremely popular event. Families come in droves.
On the first day of the festival (Dec 02), there was a long lineup of people wanting in before the garden officially opened at 4:30 PM. In fact, visitors were advised to purchase tickets in advance at Tickets Tonight or in person at the Garden Shop at VanDusen Garden as early as Nov 1st.
Once visitors entered the garden, many of them seek out the popular Dancing Lights at Livingstone Lake in which a continuous series of strobe lights was synchronized to rock versions of familiar Christmas songs that reverberated with the audience, adults and kids alike.
Music is the universal language, no loss in translation there. It signifies the joyous season and everyone is excited to be there. Dancing Lights plays every half-hour and it has become one of the main attractions of the Festival of Lights experience.
After the light show, visitors began to explore different areas of the garden and there were plenty for them to see and enjoy – Santa’s Living Room, Gingerbread Wood, Make-a-Wish Candle Shrine, Sparkling Spruce in the center court, Candy Cane Express model train etc.
Roaming along the brightly-illuminated Candy Cane Lane, you would likely hear a singing choir that draws you nearer or encounter two Christmas Gnomes, Svend and Jens eager to entertain.
Svend joked often in a heavy Swedish accent while Jens played his quiet and abiding partner. Their routine worked out very well I must say.
It’s the Winter Light season (not Lights, in honor of director Ingmar Bergman) and with Svend and Jens close by, you are reminded of the Swedish filmmaker’s world-famous troupe of actors including Liv Ulman, Max Von Sydow, Gunnel Lindblom and others. Ja!
After an hour or two, you just might feel hungry and it is a perfect time to have dinner at the garden. Both light fare and full meals are available at the VanDusen Garden. Dinner is also served every night at the Shaughnessy Restaurant during the Festival of Lights. Reservations are recommended.
Ho-Ho-Ho, Santa’s rocking in his chair!
[Photos & Video by Ray Van Eng | www.vancouver21.com ]
Ray Van Eng is an award-winning photographer, journalist, online publisher, screenwriter and movie & TV producer. One of his videos is currently on view at the Hava Nagila Exhibit, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. from Sep 2012 to May 2013.
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