Attending Green Bay’s ‘Garden of Lights’ had always strengthened my inner holiday glow. Throughout the grounds, over three hundred thousand lights, glistening artistically in the form of illuminated sculptures, inspired mirthful sentiments. Yet, you ever watch that inspiring or thrilling movie too many times? You know, the one in which every scene and every line is a solid data file within your human mind? It loses its luster…I know, since we’re talking of lights, it’s a horrible pun. But lately, with new additions lacking pizzazz, and fewer variations of past years to create a fresh sense of awe, Heidi and I were debating whether we’d visit the Garden of Lights this year. I’m glad that we made the trip.

Don’t get me wrong or despair, many of the garden goers favorites, such as the 60ft caterpillar, the icicle forest, a brilliant under water scene and other heart captivating oldies, still remain. Yet, it wasn’t a total replay of last year either. There were some pretty creative additions that summoned a genuine smile to my frozen face.

So on with my Garden of Lights Caper…

Heidi and I are running late. I want to say we were off to a late start, but that’s hardly the truth. More to the point, we had a five pound sack, and ten pounds worth of itinerary. Did that make sense? No? Well, I’m leaving it in anyways.

My point is, with our tickets purchased for seven o’clock, we’re definitely stretching our time window. Basically, it’s seven thirty. Yet, we did look up the rules for the pre purchased passes. They’re giving us a half an hour leeway. Which is good, because we absolutely need it.

We go through the ticket counters and saunter out the doors. That big question, the one that I had almost answered prematurely, and when I say prematurely I mean I had much doubt, was this; “Am I just going to be slightly disappointed?”

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Garden of Lights. I just remember my first year through, I had pretended not to like it. Actually, I was quite dazzled- even if it was cold and crowded.

But back to the answer to my question. The moment I walk out the reception building’s front doors, I’m putting all my chips on the table. And I’m betting that it’s going to be an uplifting surprise. That’s because a giant illuminated canopy of lights stretches through the entrance. If this was here last year, I don’t remember it.

We stroll a little further and find other additions, sprinkled in with the fav’s of the past years. When we traipse the paved path, that magical aura, not a bland rehash, is surrounding my being. There’s fun scenes, there’s trees glowing from spotlights, there’s hummingbirds with flapping wings, there’s fields with color changing lights, there’s…..man, just go there and see it for yourself!

Really, the first half put me in a great mood. When we reach the loop, the one the horse drawn wagon’s circle, I’m relieved to find there are no such obstacles this night. They still offer wagon rides, the times are just limited. It’s an added five dollars a ticket for that upgrade. I have to say, speaking from experience, that I’m glad the horses are not sharing the loop with walkers. It makes for a cumbersome trek in the woods.

The journey around the loop is like revisiting old memories. Many of those sculptures, the oldies that have survived the year in my mind, create a stronger image. These are quite fun, and I don’t mind getting the fresh stamp on the grey matter. I wish they would slightly alter the scenes, maybe a couple fun additions, but it’s sufficive. I’m glad they haven’t scrapped them, these are the ones that I look forward to.

When we leave, I’m surprisingly impressed. Whoever headed this year’s display knew exactly what they were doing. And Heidi and I were on the cusp of skipping it the following year, had we not delighted in this seemingly magical realm. I felt like a solar powered calculator, I simply absorbed the radiance of the garden. Now, I’m filled with alacrity and spirit for a good long while…well ok, that’s not exactly how a calculator works. I think you know what I mean.

Safe Travels!

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