Winter has arrived in Santa Fe. And with it comes the parade of winter-inspired events. We are all ready for warm drinks and outdoor lighting displays around town. It's a magical time when the imagination is given reign over the world of dreams. So it's fitting that Santa Fe Botanical Garden invites you into the place of its dreams with GLOW, a festival of winter lights at the new grounds on Museum Hill.
Every Thursday through Saturday for the entire month of December, the garden will be illuminated, fires will burn, live music will play and hot chocolate and hot cider will be served as the garden opens its gates after dark to welcome the winter—all for an $8 admission ($5 if you're a Botanical Garden member).
The garden, open since July, expects this inaugural event to become a Santa Fe tradition. "We want it to become a family tradition. This is our gift to the community," says Fran Cole, public affairs director.
Although GLOW will be the first light festival for SFBG, the use of light exhibitions in gardens is not new. "Botanical gardens across the country have winter light festivals. It's sort of a botanical garden tradition," Linda Melbourne, the organization's managing director, explains.
This event, however, will not be holiday themed as many light festivals are, she says. It will instead focus on welcoming winter and the atmosphere the chilly season brings.
The lighting design for the grounds was created by local design group Samuel Designs. Lisa Samuel and her team worked hand-in-hand with the Botanical Garden to best execute the vision.
"We have designed a sequence of displays that will be unusual and spectacular," says Melbourne.
On Dec. 4, a special preview party is set to unveil the garden's transformation, offering spiked hot chocolate and homemade cookies along with a free surprise gift for every attendee. Live music and fires throughout keep the night lively and warm.
Along with the illumination, the garden features unique visitors. Christy Hengst's unusual flock of porcelain birds will be joining the festivities. Finished with their international travels, the screen-printed birds will be available for sale as well as displayed throughout the garden's two-acre property.
For everyone from tantrum-prone toddlers and horny teens to the singular nature observer and silver couples, GLOW is a chance to bundle up and enjoy the beauty of nature. Perfect for family night and date night alike, come take a stroll under the stars. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, we could all use a little more light. Let GLOW lead the way with its escapists dream, a retreat to delight in the grandeur of winter.