Water Conservation Garden’s ‘aglow’ for the holiday season

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The Water Conservation Garden delighted people from all areas with a chance to stroll through its grounds lit up with holiday lights. Gardens Aglow and was held two weekends, Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16. Festive holiday music, visits with Santa, a kids’ crafts and gift shop, wine tasting and bake sale, and one-of-a-kind gifts in the garden gift store were all part of the experience available to attendees.

The Water Conservation Garden delighted people from all areas with a chance to stroll through its grounds lit up with holiday lights. Gardens Aglow and was held two weekends, Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16. Festive holiday music, visits with Santa, a kids’ crafts and gift shop, wine tasting and bake sale, and one-of-a-kind gifts in the garden gift store were all part of the experience available to attendees.

“This is our first annual Gardens Aglow,” said Diane Owens, development director for the Garden. “We are excited to invite residents to the garden.  We have had anywhere from 100-200 in attendance each night.”

The six-acre garden stroll started with a lit archway that welcomed the walkers to the registration tables. From the amphitheater to the gift shop succulents to structures were decorated.  Of particular charm was Mrs. Smarty Plants Holiday Gift Shoppe where a kids-only-status where no item exceeded $1. Kids had the opportunity to do holiday shopping and select lotions, vases, make-up purses, candles and more all without breaking the budget to fulfill their holiday gift shopping for their moms and dads plus list.

Kirin Manning, 8, from Serra Mesa, was there shopping for his family at the kids’ only shop.  His mom, Annaliese Steuermann said, “This is our first year.  My mom is a volunteer here and I saw it on Facebook.” 

Volunteers were a big part of how the garden got decked out for the holiday stroll. A “bedazzled” with lights (as a little girl called it) “rock river” brought out the photographer in kids carrying cameras as well as adults. Amateur photographers had a chance to learn how to photograph Christmas lights at night. A lawn man was restyled as Grinch.  Inflatable holiday figures interspersed with strings of carefully placed lights added to the winter wonderland look. Volunteers will also dismantle the holiday decorations after the holidays.

Hot chocolate, cider, decorated sugar cookies, and cranberry with white chocolate cookies were on sale to augment the holiday feel. A children’s trail and photo opportunities with Santa, and the children’s only gift store reflected a whole design of the event to engage the young ones.

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