Having lived at SaddleBrooke for many years, I am always impressed with the new creativity our local attractions offer during the holidays for our community. On Friday, November 25, the historic Tucson Botanical Gardens will premier its newest holiday light experience. My family and I have enjoyed our visits to the Gardens for several years when they offered Luminaria Nights and then Wanderland. LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination is the newest, greatest holiday light experience and I cannot wait to see what the Gardens has in store. It will run for 44 nights through Sunday, January 15, 2023, six-days a week. “For more than 30-years the Gardens has offered a traditional luminaria experience that is beloved by the community,” said TBG Executive Director, Michelle Conklin. “As the marketplace has become progressively more competitive, and utilizing lessons learned during the pandemic, the Gardens has committed to a new vision that offers a unique seasonal experience while retaining elements of the traditional displays,” she added.

Designed by nationally known public garden landscape architect Tres Fromme, this will be a multi-year holiday offering, a carefully curated and artfully sequenced series of illuminated experiences will transform the Gardens into a compelling, all new holiday show. Six distinct but meticulously connected thematic zones comprise LightsUp!: Arrival, Welcome Walk, Whimsy Way, Bedazzled Boulevard, Star Shower, and Luminaria Lane. Relationships among color palettes throughout the show are of special importance since the property is of historical significance.

“One of our guiding principles in creating the design was to blend those well-loved traditions with new and awe-inspiring light displays. Keeping the luminarias but combining them with more than a million lights among the canopies of our mature trees is one way we are accomplishing that,” said Conklin.

In addition to clouds of LED lights throughout the display, custom-built, oversized props and pieces created by local artisans including light tunnels, cypress-inspired spindle trees, punched-tin stars and trees, light curtains, and luminaria chandeliers and archways will all contribute to creating an unforgettable holiday experience unlike anything ever seen in southern Arizona. A casual walk through the show will take approximately 60-minutes and will be accompanied by a soundtrack that, in some areas, will be choreographed with the lights.

“In a unique, historic setting like TBG, LightsUp! will offer unrivaled creativity and design expertise that combines diverse creative disciplines into an unrivaled whole. Artistry in light, refined holiday décor, and sound design will all be woven into thoughtfully choreographed, delightful, multi-sensory experiences. This will be something generations of Tucson families will incorporate into their holiday traditions for years to come,” said Conklin.

If you are interested in visiting this new holiday experience, you can purchase tickets or for more information about LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination, please visit TucsonBotanical.org.


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