Milner Gardens & Woodland is literally lighting up the night with their annual Christmas Magic event, which opened Dec. 5 and runs select nights throughout the month.
“I’d say we’re getting upwards of 70,000 lights,” said Geoff Ball, Executive Director of Milner Gardens & Woodland, to The NEWS last week.
The shining Christmas lights and holiday displays were set up by a team of volunteers and staff, who Ball said have “chipped away” at the project since September.
But the lights aren’t the only attraction at Christmas Magic. According to a news release from Milner Gardens, there is also storytelling, a teddy bear cottage and Santa Claus himself to delight the crowds.
Ball said music plays a big part of the event as well, with a diverse range of groups coming from around the region to perform. “It’s a fun place to sing Christmas songs,” he said.
According to the Milner Gardens website, musicians include Serendipity (Dec. 12), Graffiti Quartet (Dec. 13), Heart’s Ease (Dec. 14), Brigitte Stephanie & Carol Fetherston & Margaret Nelson (Dec. 17), Maureen Ohearn (Dec. 18), Fouray Quarter (Dec. 19), Pat Scrivener (Dec. 20) and the McShane Family (Dec. 21).
The Cantando Chamber Singers sang their set, which included a number of Christmas carols, on opening night. “We love doing it,” said one of the singers Margaret Nelson. “I love singing for the little kids … Their eyes just light up.”
There is also a selection of treats to eat. Ball said the Camellia Tea Room is open during the event and VIU’s baking students will also have a stand selling cookies and other treats as a fundraiser for their program.
In the library, those same students have displayed around of their 20 gingerbread houses. “They’ve gone to town,” said Ball of the gingerbread.
Last year, around 6500 people visited Milner Garden’s Christmas Magic in 11 nights. Ball thinks they might see a little more this year, if the weather cooperates. He understands that the rain can put people off; however, he also said the event will run during wet weather and that the Gardens still has plenty to offer on those nights. He reminds visitors that all of the buildings on the property have been decorated and there are activities inside. The Gardens have provided a bucket of clear umbrellas in each building that people can borrow if they want to venture outside.
The only time Milner Gardens will close the event is if storms become hazardous.
According to Milner Garden’s website, admission to the gardens and woodland during Christmas Magic is by donation. However, a suggested entry donation is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children and $12 for a family (two adults and three kids).
Milner Christmas Magic runs Dec. 12-14 and 17-21 from 5-8:30 p.m. each evening. Recommended last entry is 8 p.m. For more information, call 250-752-6153.