Gardens Aglow returns | Wiscasset Journal


At the Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, preparations are already underway for the seventh annual Aglow Gardens. Following positive feedback from last year’s successful pivot to host the event in the face of Covid restrictions, the seasonal signing celebration will return in 2021 as a driving experience.

Gardens Aglow operates Thursday through Sunday, November 20 through January. 1, plus Wednesdays before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and every night Christmas Day through Jan. 1, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Tickets, available on, are sold by car rather than individual and are only available in advance for a specific time slot. Entrances are limited to 15-minute intervals, ensuring smooth traffic both on the peninsula and along the Gardens Aglow Road. Tickets, $ 40 / car for non-members and $ 30 for members, are only available in advance; no tickets will be sold on site and customers must print their tickets prior to arrival. Cars arriving without tickets will be turned away.

Cars exceeding the height restrictions (a maximum of nine feet) will also be turned away and no refund will be given. No trailer, bus, limousine or motorhome is allowed on the course. As this is a car tour, guests will stay in their car. No food or facilities will be offered, but those interested are encouraged to access Gardenshop online,, for seasonal purchases.

“The reviews last year have been overwhelmingly positive,” said Gretchen Ostherr, President and CEO of Gardens, of the 2020 event. Comments like, “It was so beautiful. Thank you for reworking it as a drivethrough event so that it can happen again this year. We loved it! ”And,“ It was incredible! Thank you very much for coming up with the concept so that we can still enjoy some normalcy this holiday season, ”flooded the Gardens’ Facebook account.

“We are delighted to continue this holiday tradition despite the uncertainty surrounding Covid and the Delta variants,” continues Ostherr. “The driving experience allows us to keep everyone safe while also giving people the opportunity to see a fantastic light show with their friends and loved ones,” she said, adding, “Last year , many guests told us that they were able to attend with their elderly family members or young children who could not have attended the walking event. The Gardens predicts that this year’s experience will be a bit longer and even more impressive and immersive. “I expect this to look like a completely different show.”

Although he must work within the parameters dictated by an established driving route, lighting designer Brent McHale is inspired by the creative challenge. “I have always loved creating light shows to celebrate and bring joy to people, and after helping install the Gardens lights for the past two years, my mind has been full of ideas,” says McHale .

Having worked closely on last year’s exhibition, he has the knowledge, experience and the means to rethink it. “It was a joy to bring these ideas to life,” he continues, “and I hope to create a very immersive experience and showcase the hard work our team puts into this event.”

Working around a vague theme celebrating two of Maine’s greatest natural resources – its woods and water – even those who have made Gardens Aglow their vacation tradition can expect something new this year. The event is truly a labor of love. The over 600,000 LED lights used (that’s almost 60 miles of lights) are incredibly energy efficient, amounting to an energy bill of just $ 120 for the entire 30-night run. Three months of effort by all staff goes into this singular light show, a strong tradition in the Maine seasonal calendar.

The Gardens hope the creative spirit spreads to residents of the peninsula as CMBG once again sponsors the annual community lighting competition – and anyone who might consider participating should start planning now. Contest participants will be included on a full map which will be available on the Gardens Aglow website. Visitors will be able to use the card to tour the peninsula and extend their seasonal outing. They can even vote for their favorite postings; the winners in the residential and commercial categories will be determined by popular vote. The registration deadline is November 8.

Between Gardens Aglow and Boothbay Lights, the Boothbay Peninsula will once again be the place to be for winter fun. Experience the explosion of festive colors in the Gardens, then enjoy a wide variety of seasonal activities in the region. For more details and to order tickets, visit For a full calendar of regional offerings, visit

With nearly 325 acres, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is New England’s largest public garden. Voted # 1 on TripAdvisor, the nationally recognized public garden is located in Boothbay, Maine. With two miles of hiking trails, 17 acres of ornamental and themed gardens featuring plants native to Maine, a children’s garden, a sensory garden and more, there’s something for everyone. The mission of the Gardens is to inspire meaningful connections between people, plants and nature through horticulture, education and research. To book tickets or learn more, visit

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