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Meadowlark Gardens light up the holiday season

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Meadowlark Gardens light up the holiday season

Camille Blakemore, Reporter

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Though the wind chill is bitter and the temperature well below 30 degrees, Meadowlark Gardens is swarming with the holiday spirit enthused. Every tree is swaddled in lights, with some arranged in creative ways such as animals or arches.

The cold cuts easily through jackets, and the air is fresh with icy weather ahead. Meadowlark is a botanical garden in nearby Vienna. Though it has an array of activities distributed throughout the year, the Winter Walk of Lights has become very popular within the past few years. Guests come to admire the lights, but they stay for the cheery atmosphere and interactive exhibits.

With more than 500,000 LED lights, the festival is aptly named. Guests stroll along the half mile path, dazzled by dozens of light displays along the way. The crown jewel of the light display is a 30 foot tall lakeside Christmas tree which blares Christmas carols synced to the blinking lights.

One particular highlight this year is a bush that changes color as visitors sing different carols. The animated stream is especially interesting as well, where animated fish fly through the air. One last glimpse before you return to the gift shop is the blue forest with twinkling “snow” overhead.

An annual favorite is the S’more Snacks Shop set up at the end of the walk. With bargain prices for all refreshments, and the allure of heat in plasma form, the fire pits at the end of the path were a welcome destination. Unfortunately, the s’mores were unsuccessful, with the frigid temperatures making the marshmallows stubbornly refuse to toast and the chocolate so cold it nearly broke teeth, but past experiences attest that this is not always the case.

It’s best to purchase your tickets online, as they often sell out at the gate (winterwalkoflights.eventbrite.com). To prevent overcrowding, the tickets are timed-entry. The Winter Walk closes Sunday, Jan. 6, but is open each night, including holidays, starting at 5:30.

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