Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is pleased to announce that the popular GardenFest of Lights annual show has been renamed the Dominion GardenFest of Lights to recognize its title sponsor for the past 12 years. This year's event begins November 26 and ends January 10.
"GardenFest of Lights has become a family tradition for many and our on-going partnership with Dominion helps keep it fresh and exciting each year," said Frank Robinson, Executive Director of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. "It's a natural fit for Dominion to be title sponsor of an event powered by electricity while at the same time focused on energy savings."
The annual event will be made possible through 2013 by a grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion.
"Each year during the holiday season Richmonders and out-of-towners alike enjoy going to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for the spectacular GardenFest of Lights display," said William C. Hall Jr., a vice president of Dominion and president of The Dominion Foundation. "With this grant, The Dominion Foundation is pleased to continue this Richmond holiday tradition."
The light show has become one of Central Virginia's favorite holiday events, with attendance growing from 8,500 in 1998 to more than 44,000 in 2009. This year it will begin with a special guest turning on a giant "light switch" at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 26, the night after Thanksgiving.
Opening night will include hundreds of candle luminaries, ice sculpting demonstrations and, new this year, a "Fire & Ice" theme incorporating Glorious Glass in the Garden sculptures, with more lights than ever bringing illumination.
More than 40 miles of light strands with approximately 700,000 bulbs are used this year. About half are LEDs (light emitting diodes) rather than traditional incandescent lights.
"We continue to add more LEDs each year because they use less power but have great intensity and flexibility," said Robinson. "A new use this year is a light curtain that is part of the train display; more than 1,600 twinkling LEDs will create a 'starry night' backdrop."
GardenFest runs nightly 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. daily except for Dec. 24 and 25 at the non-profit Garden located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond. The event includes family-friendly activities, dining opportunities, music and more. Admission for Dominion GardenFest is $10 adults; $9 seniors; $6 children ages 3 – 12; free for children under age 3. Admission for Garden members is $5; for children on a membership it is $4 (ages 3 – 18). To learn more, call (804) 262-9887 or visit www.lewisginter.org
EVENTS DURING GARDENFEST
Dominion GardenFest Illumination: Friday, November 26
- 5 p.m. Garden lit with hundreds of candle luminaries; ice sculpting demonstration
- 5:15 p.m. Brief ceremony in the Rose Garden with music by the Unity Richmond Choral Group and countdown to GardenFest Illumination
5:30 p.m. A large "light switch" has been crafted by Garden volunteers and special guests will flip the switch signaling the half-million lights to blaze
- 7 – 8 p.m. Crystal Concert in the Education and Library Complex Auditorium (also Nov. 27 & 28;7 – 8 p.m.).Hear classical music and seasonal favorites performed on amazing glass instruments. Limited seating; guests must pick up "placeholder" ticket; first-come, first-served.
Merry Mondays (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20, 27 & Jan. 3, 10); 5 - 8 p.m.
- Storytime fireside with the Garden Keeper and Fire & Ice Princess (5:30, 6:30 & 7:30 p.m.) in the Library
- Santa "sightings" in the Conservatory on Mondays before Christmas
- Free s'more kits provided by presenting sponsor Whole Foods Market (while supplies last)
Musical Thursdays (Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 & Jan. 6): Acoustic music in the Library on Thursday evenings.
GardenFest for Fidos; Thursday, Dec. 2 & Thursday, Jan. 6 (two nights only!): Leashed pets allowed; suggested pet "admission" benefits the Richmond SPCA.