McCrory Gardens will soon be transformed into a winter wonderland where visitors can explore an intricate display of lights, sip hot chocolate and get into the spirit of the holidays.
The McCrory Gardens Garden Glow event will kick off at 5 p.m. Dec. 3 and will last until early January.
Visitors will experience different themes throughout the garden, including “candy land,” “reindeer meadow,” “Santa’s workshop” and more. The public has an opportunity to suggest different themes, and, if they choose, help sponsor it. The public can also sponsor decorated trees throughout the garden.
“The theme this year is Adrienne’s Field of Light, and it will display lights that are choreographed to music with 12 different shows,” Chris Schlenker, horticulture and grounds manager, said. “The Gingerbread House is a new aspect this year and is decorated to match the choreographed show.”
Along with all the different themes, there will also be a new area available to rent this year. McCrory Gardens is offering an igloo set up for about six people. This setup is in a private area that is lit up with lights, and it will be available for an hour and a half for fifty dollars, McCrory Gardens employee Sydney Trio said.
McCrory Gardens is expecting to see an increase in visitors for the show this year. Last year there were about 11,000 visitors, Schlenker said.
Students can attend the event for free with a valid student ID, but for other visitors, the cost will be $9, Trio said.
Unlike previous years, there shouldn’t be a significant waiting time due to a new ticketing system, which allows visitors to buy tickets in advance. Tickets will still be available for purchase at the door.
“By using this new system, traffic throughout the garden should flow better and there should be less of a wait time, if there is one,” Trio said. ”It depends, but wait time could take up to 20 minutes or two hours.”
The entire setup process takes about a month and a half, but this year’s setup started one week earlier than in previous years.
“My favorite part is seeing how good the lights look in the dark after you spend so much time putting the lights up, it’s rewarding to get to see them at night,” Trio said.
During the Garden Glow, the gardens offer a gift shop in their building. The shop offers a variety of different products that are locally made around Brookings, said McCrory Gardens employee Alyson Swanson.
“They offer a variety of T-shirts, syrup that is hand tapped at McCrory Gardens, along with different kinds of honey,” Swanson said. “There are also books located in the gift shop and many stickers made by a father-daughter duo.”
Schlenker said Garden Glow started about eight years ago as a way to give visitors the opportunity to visit the gardens year round.
McCrory Gardens is a botanical garden founded in 1965 named after Samuel McCrory. This garden began with two original acres and is now up to 70 acres.
The McGrory Gardens Garden Glow will be open between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Dec. 3 through early January.