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Magic is in the pipeline. Two local cultural organizations have
partnered to provide a luminous experience for the south metro
region beginning Nov. 21.
Hudson Holiday, a 15-acre lighting display, created and
installed by the Museum of Outdoor Arts, will dazzle visitors to
Hudson Gardens and Event Center in Littleton for six weeks, through
Cyclists and walkers on the Mary Carter Greenway in Hudson
Gardens may have already noted construction of a barn at the west
No, farm animals are not contemplated, but a flock of electric
sheep will graze near the barn, assorted lighted bunnies will
scamper around the wetlands, and a gathering of 26 white life-sized
critters ranging from elephant to mouse will be up-lighted in the
Oval Garden and in residence in the barn in off-season.
Also among the hundreds of thousands of dollars of festive
investments to be installed and later stored: a huge collection of
lighted, multi-colored shapes; miles of wire; old-fashioned
hand-painted signs; and Santa and reindeer from a 1950s Popular
The Hudson residence will get a false holiday front, and be
inhabited by eccentric Martha and Fred Kaplinski, who have recorded
a short show as they light their own display. There are permanent
icicles for the island gazebo; an angel bench (wings move for photo
opportunities); paisley and other patterned teepees; a new jeweled
train and tiny decorations for the railroad garden’s surrounding
mini landscape. Wagons will display Emry Weldig’s inventions, which
were exhibited in an MOA display at Fillmore Plaza, Cherry Creek
last year. And a whole lot of high-tech electronic equipment will
make it all run.
The concept of gala holiday lights has been on MOA’s agenda for
several years and a smaller display was mounted at Samson Park next
to Fiddler’s Green, several years ago. So the inventory has been
growing. But “it was too small,” Lonnie Hanzon, Wizard-in-Residence
and creative director of the Museum of Outdoor Arts, says of the
He is certain this will be the right location. “This show
belongs to the south metro area and its one and a half million
people,” he said.
MOA President Cynthia Madden Leitner talked about the museum’s
philosophy and Hudson Holiday.
“Art needs to be a part of everyday life — not just to make you
feel good for a moment, but to give you a visual memory of who we
are as people,” she said “Our hope is to inspire the viewer through
the beauty of light.”
And for Hudson Gardens, it’s a win-win prospect.
“If we are able draw 20 percent of [“Zoolights ],” Hudson
Gardens director Rich Meredith says it will be a success.
“And I imagine in the first year, we’ll learn a lot,” he said.
“We’ll modify what’s needed and grow each and every year to a
nationally recognized holiday light show.”
As a point of reference, “Zoolights” at the Denver Zoo attracts
120,000 to its annual lighting show.
Discussions and cooperation have been in the works between the
two organizations for some time. MOA has placed large sculptures at
Hudson Gardens in past years to give its collection added exposure
to a different audience.
It seems like a match made in heaven, with each non-profit
strengthening the other and sharing a large prospective audience of
“The goal is an annual event,“ said Hanzon, speaking in a studio
at the MOA, packed with existing displays, such as the “Castle on
the Hill” that were being fine tuned and new displays were being
Entrance to Hudson Holiday will be through the Welcome Garden
and canopy, south of the usual gift shop entrance and maps will be
available to plan short or longer routes through the north side of
the Gardens. Horse-drawn wagons, boarded in the lower Demonstration
Gardens area, will carry passengers in a longer loop past Frost
Island, the conifer display and brightly patterned teepees.
Hanzon spoke of Diogen Lighting, an international firm located
in Centennial, which manufactures and sells commercial and holiday
lighting. For the past 12 to 14 years, he has designed holiday
lights for his various shows that the company helps develop— and
later market. A number of this year’s new Hanzon-designed shapes
will light Hudson Holiday and be placed on the market next
Much of the display will utilize Diogen’s low-watt LED lighting,
which incidentally, is being used on Littleton’s Street of Lights
The above items and more — Hanzon speaks of buying materials
that filled four semis from an East Coast company that was moving —
will require 30 days of installation time, which started Oct. 15. A
certificate of occupancy was received by Meredith, meaning the barn
is ready for use, and the fanciful inventory will be moved in so
work can begin.
Hazon’s extensive experience includes Parade of Lights in
Denver, HGTV’s holiday special, installation of the largest holiday
display in Hong Kong history, Neiman Marcus’ annual Dallas holiday
window displays and many more projects.
He recalls growing up in the mountains, near Pine, and making an
annual family excursion to Denver to see the beautifully decorated
windows that once turned downtown Denver into a magic place. That
magic was fused into his persona permanently, making him eminently
qualified to design a special event for today’s families.
Colorado Community Newspapers is a media sponsor for Hudson
For information, visit www.hudsonholiday.com or the
Hudson Holiday Hotline, 303-353-1715.
Hudson Gardens and Events Center is located at 6115 S. Santa Fe
Drive, Littleton. The Museum of Outdoor Arts is located at 1000
Englewood Parkway, Englewood.
If you go
Hudson Gardens and Event Center is at 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive,
Littleton. Hours for Hudson Holiday: 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 21-22, 27-29;
Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-23, 26-31; and Jan. 1-3. (Last ticket sold at
8:30 p.m.) Tickets: $8 adults; $7 Seniors; $6 Kids 4 to 12; free 3
and under. www.HudsonHoliday.com,
303-797-8565 x 321. The Hudson Holiday Hotline is 303-353-1715.
Ample free parking is available.
“If we continue to raise generations of children who don’t
believe in magic, we’re in real trouble!”
— Lonnie Hanzon, Wizard-in-Residence and creative director,
Museum of Outdoor Arts.
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