For those familiar with St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden captures audiences year-round with spectacular scenery and beautiful buildings; however, during the holidays, the garden is transformed into a winter wonderland of its own. From Nov. 18-Jan. 1, the garden is lit up with over 1 million LED lights as the Garden Glow helps keep the holidays merry and bright. To get some insight regarding what goes on behind the scenes, we spoke with Nicole Iannazzo and Brian Whitcher from Oak Island Creative, the technology collective behind the project.
“The unique thing about the Missouri Botanical Garden compared to other holiday projects is the color combinations they use,” Iannazzo says. For the garden, the traditional reds and greens — though present — aren’t the draw. Instead, according to Iannazzo, it’s the “vibrant blues, cool whites and the purples” that highlight the stunning garden. “The combination of colors we put together really speaks to the garden. We love to play up the assets that they have.”
If it weren’t for the garden’s Climatron, the display may be completely different too. “The Climatron is their iconic building. We definitely build around that and create our concept off that focal point. That structure can be seen from the interstate pulling in; it captures the guests’ eyes,” Whitcher says.
After ensuring the Climatron grabs your attention, the garden’s holiday lights display is all about customization. From sounds to lighting and visual elements, the Garden Glow is truly distinctive, including its custom six-foot chandelier. “We bring the family-friendly aspect while also bringing the adult aspect,” Whitcher says. “There is custom programming and boards for the show [utilizing] RGB interactive technology. We have two main show elements designed for the audio: One is in a body of water, and the other is in a sound area surrounded by trees.”
Aiming to make each event unique, “the orb show is specific to the garden; these kind of pieces are what help differentiate this event from other events,” Iannazzo says. “We want to use the garden as the canvas and highlight that we’re going on our fifth year now.” The Garden Glow truly has become a holiday staple in St. Louis.
A family-friendly outing, an event for romantics or just a night out with friends, the Garden Glow is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday season no matter the occasion. Not only can you enjoy spectacular lights and sounds, admission also includes the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show featuring 900 feet of model train tracks.
For more information and tickets, visit glow.missouribotanicalgarden.org. M