Lifestyle

166,000 visit Bellevue's Garden d'Lights

Grand prize raffle winners of this year
Grand prize raffle winners of this year's Garden D'Lights, Kathy Olson and her son, pose with their potted plant fixture created by volunteers.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The hundreds of light-string fixtures that make up Bellevue's Garden d'Lights have been safely put away and stored after another successful year for the long-standing holiday tradition.

The six-week-long holiday presentation attracted more than 166,000 people throughout the month of December.

Garden d'Lights Co-Chairs Sharon and Dallas Graham worked tirelessly to ensure the beloved Bellevue light show lived up to its name.

"This year exceeded all of our expectations," said a very pleased, but tired Sharon Graham. "Dallas and I are exhausted, but the whole event was so exciting and the wonderful feedback we received from the community makes it all worth it."

Once again, the aquarium of glowing underwater plants, starfish and pulsating jelly fish was named one of the favorites by the thousands of people who walked through the vibrant light displays every night. More than 7,800 volunteer hours went into producing this year's Garden d'Lights presentation.

Visitors came from near and far to see the light display. According to Sharon Graham, she spoke with people visiting from South Africa, Thailand and South America.

"For many, this has become a family tradition. We had people visiting from the Portland area who came because they heard of the Bellevue light show and wanted to see it for themselves," she explained.

The light fixtures and displays at this year's Garden d'Lights included a colorful poinsettia tree, a grape vineyard, purple clematis arbor, an expanded pond display and new critter creatures found throughout the garden paths. Kids were given a Critter Map when they first entered the park and set off in search of the hidden critters including rabbits and ducks, all made by hand using strands of LED (light-emitting diode) lights.

"Overall, people were very ecstatic and appreciative of the whole event," she said. "The raffle, which was new this year, brought in additional donations and helped us raise funds."

The donations collected from Garden d'Lights are allocated in support of the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society and future Botanical Garden projects.

Garden d'Lights workshop classes begin in the spring, teaching community members and volunteers how to create the glowing light fixtures from scratch. A full schedule of upcoming classes offered at the Bellevue Botanical Garden will be available online the second week of February.

Visit www.bellevuebotanical.org or call 425.452.2750 for more information. Bellevue Botanical Garden is located at 12001 Main Street in Bellevue.

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