Best and brightest: What it takes to set up The Galaxy of Lights

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The beloved holiday tradition is back at the Huntsville Botanical Garden for its 26th year. The Galaxy of Lights is bigger and brighter than ever.

A team of staff and volunteers has been working for weeks to get about three miles and 200 light fixtures in place for when Galaxy of Lights opens on November 11.

The Garden’s Director of Learning and Public Engagement Rebecca Turk said there will be a great mix of old favorites returning but also new surprises on the Galaxy of Lights walking nights including a path through the garden, interactive exhibits and brand new lighting techniques.

“Our amazing traditional path connecting our holiday displays, combining our familiar favorites with new surprises all in the same experience,” Turk said.

Huntsville Botanical Garden staff started planning Galaxy of Lights early in the year. Turk said things really kick off in August though when a core group of staff and volunteers start repairs on lights, stands, wires, etc.

Then in September and October lights start going up all around the Garden. A group of 25-30 volunteers work with staff members to get the features up and secured.

The Huntsville Botanical Garden is repurposing some older features with new lighting technology to add even more to the experience.

“There are 84,000 channels of lights, which is a lot of lights,” Turk said. “So, a lot of lights and a lot of displays to really create the amazing experience.”

Steven Byrd, the Lighting Design and Programming Lead at the Garden, said these new lights allow them to have a larger variety of designs and colors.  

The walking path is about a mile long and weaves through the inner portion of the garden. On Mondays and Tuesdays in November guests are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to walk around too.

When driving nights startup on December 2nd, there will only be one entry into the garden for the event. Vehicles will enter from Bob Wallace Avenue and then turn left onto the almost two-mile Galaxy of Lights trail.

Map to Galaxy of Lights for driving nights

Turk said she really enjoys archways scattered throughout the paths and the interactive exhibits with her family, especially her young children. One of her absolute favorites is the poinsettia arch.

Tickets can be purchased for both walking and driving nights on the Huntsville Botanical Garden’s website. The Botanical Garden website also has an informative FAQ section that answers many questions guests may have.

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