Night Bright: 5 Spectacular Illumination Events
You can always expect to see creative and dazzling light displays during the Halloween and Christmas seasons but there are other major illumination events that are ideal for family night viewing every autumn and they offer some highly innovative approaches to lighting.
These run the gamut from top tourist destinations like Niagara Falls to botanical gardens to popular vacation getaways and resorts. Take, for instance, the Blackpool Illuminations, a tradition that dates back to 1879 when this English seaside resort first launched the event which has since become an annual festival. Covering a six mile area along the waterfront, the Blackpool Illuminations light up the night skies from mid-September to mid-November and it is a free event. Tourists come from all over the world to view these glowing, larger-than-life tableaux that feature a variety of themes and creative ideas. If you are traveling in the U.K. this fall, you owe it to yourself to experience the 2016 event.
During the 2015 season, you could see a series of scenes inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass which comprised more than a city block in terms of the size.
Some of the Blackpool Illuminations pay homage to a specific culture like this Egyptian-style temple with an ornate and glowing sarcophagus.
Other light sculptures pay tribute to Blackpool itself such as the above recreation of the double-decker buses that serve the seaside resort.
If you don’t want to walk the entire six mile strip of lights, you can pay to ride on a decorated trolley which is a visual treat in itself and see the entire presentation from the comfort of your trolley seat.
Now celebrating its second year at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience combines visuals and music in a popular event that runs through Oct. 29.
While an orchestra plays selections from Bach, Brahms and Debussy, visitors can wander through the garden and be dazzled by an array of awe-inspiring light installations created by the Klip Collective of Philadelphia.
Klip Collective, longwoodgardens.org/nightscape
Some of the popular sights include the spectacular Waterlily display, the Mediterranean Garden with its lush green and blue hues and the unique geometry of the Silver Garden.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the U.S. as well as an iconic honeymoon destination, Niagara Falls is situated between New York State and the province of Ontario, Canada. The location hosts three magnificent waterfalls but they are even more spectacular at night when colored lights and fireworks illuminate nature’s creations. The illumination/fireworks presentations are offered year-round and the viewing times listed on the official website are approximate and subject to change according to light conditions.
Boerner Botanical Gardens, www.chinalights.org
For the first time, Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is presenting an elaborate Chinese lantern festival entitled China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever which runs through Oct. 30. More than 1,000 sculptural components created by 30-plus artists from China will culminate in a fantasyland of LED-lit creations including a three-foot baby panda, a three-story Chinese palace pagoda and other larger-than-life illuminated sculptures.
Atlanta Botanical Garden, atlantabg.org/visit/events/chihuly
Art in the dark is the best way to describe a nighttime tour of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ Chihuly in the Garden exhibition. Running through Oct. 30, this is the sequel to artist Dale Chihuly’s blockbuster 2004 show but this time it is double the size with a total of 19 installations, all of them set against the surrounding fall landscape.