2023-2024 Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights
What’s New: Rhythms of Nature Theme
The rhythms of nature connect us all. Guests to this year’s Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights are invited to pause and reflect on this connectedness as they travel through the four seasons, represented by more than a million lights. The colors and light forms reflect the seasons in different Garden areas: summer shines in the Asian Valley and the West Island Garden; rich fall colors glow in the Flagler and Grace Arents Gardens; the whites and golds of winter glitter in the Children’s Garden; and fresh spring hues bloom around Sydnor Lake and the Streb Conifer Garden.
More than twenty-seven miles of light strands twinkle in the trees and line the Garden paths. Sounds of nature, such as bird calls, have been introduced in select areas throughout the display. As an accompaniment, Virginia’s state bird, the cardinal, is represented in a new light form. Other new light forms include a bluebird, mushrooms, and lily pads floating in the pools in front of the Conservatory.
The immersive experience includes a tunnel of lights, a maze designed as a bird’s nest, and the chance to view the lights reflecting in the lake from the Klaus Family Tree House. This vantage point high in the tree canopy is thirteen feet above ground and universally accessible using a gently sloping ramp.
Plants, both live and dried botanicals, are a highlight of this year’s GardenFest. A beautiful winter greenery arrangement greets guests upon entering the Garden. Lush, seasonal displays of holiday classics, including large poinsettias, can be found in the Conservatory, along with a cut, live tree displayed in the North Wing.
The Kelly Education Center is home to the Garden’s beloved model-train display, a must-see for all ages. Delicate dried botanicals created by Garden volunteers decorate the hallways and the Lora Robins Library, including the warm and cozy Reading Room. The materials are collected year-round and preserved to fashion decorations and a miniature botanical village. Trees decorated by Henrico County Public Schools elementary students also brighten the Lora M. Robins Library.
A highlight this year is an installation by local artist Kyle Epps: Rhythms of Light Uje Wepinasow. This illuminated tapestry of symbols, marks, and movements is a cloth offering to the spirits of central Virginia painted by the artist over two days in the Garden
2023-2024 GardenFest by the Numbers
More than a million lights decorate the 50-acre property
19 feet, 6 inches: height of the Fraser Fir from Pennsylvania in the North Wing of the Conservatory (but it hits 20 feet in the stand!)
115 wrapped trees
Darlington Oak: 50 hours; 187 strands; 9,350 bulbs; 1 mile of lights; took two arborist tree climbers 4 days to string the lights
27+: miles of light strands (not including light forms)
13,500+: number of strands in inventory (not including light forms)
285,000+: number of LEDs (not including light forms)
134,750 individual light bulbs in trees=13 miles of lights in trees alone
254: number of volunteers helping prepare for GardenFest
8,945: hours worked by volunteers (volunteering twice a week year-round + during the show)
3 months: how long it takes to install the lights (and year-round prep and planning work)
46: number of nights Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights is open to the public (Nov. 20, 2023-Jan. 7, 2024)
3 GardenFest for Fidos Nights when leashed dogs are allowed (Nov. 20, Nov. 27, and Dec. 4, 2023)
135,677: Number of people who purchased tickets in 2022-2023
#2 Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights; USA Today (2022)
History: Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden have been a favorite holiday tradition for more than 27 years. GardenFest as we know it started in 1995 and Dominion Energy became a sponsor in 1998, making this the 25th year of Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights.