Botanical Gardens lights up to celebrate the holidays

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The Wilson Botanical Gardens will be turning on the lights this weekend in its fourth annual Wilson Winter Lights.

For the first time, Wilson Winter Lights will run for two three-day weekends from 6 - 9 p.m. instead of the running from Wednesday to Sunday for one week.

“In the past, we have gotten around 2,500 people,” said Cyndi Lauderdale, executive director of the Wilson Botanical Gardens. “We’ve seen up to 1,000 people on a Saturday. We’re expecting larger groups this year with the expansion to two weekends.”

There will be 15 themed gardens decorated. Themes include candy cane lane, butterfly’s flight of fantasy, labyrinth lane, angel’s cove and sugar plum shimmer.

Candy cane will feature all red and white lights. Butterfly’s flight of fantasy is decorated with recycled materials by the New Hope 4-H Club. The new display, sugar plum display, is based on The Nutcracker, with larger-than-life nutcracker decorations.

Santa will also be in attendance each night in an area called Santa’s Snowglobe in the treehouse. The Christmas tree is decorated with natural ornaments like seeds, pods and dried flowers. Photos with Santa are free.

There is also a dazzling lights display that has been synchronized by the 4-H Flywheel Club to react with music.

There will also be nightly musical entertainment. There will be performances by Community Christian Chorus, Wilson Ukulele Group. Fike High School Band, Hope Singers of the Arc of Wilson, Cassie Dunn Ellis and ProMusic Conservatory.

There will also be nightly concssions available for purchase.

All proceeds collected by the event will go to programs at the gradens, including the STEM garden that was built with the $20,000 raised by last year’s event.

Lauderdale said good weather is expected for the duration of the light show. However, the lights cannot be turned on in the rain and the public will be alerted through the Botanical Gardens Facebook page if the show is canceled.

Tickets for ages 13 and up are $5 and for those ages 12 and under are $3.