What is that elephant doing? Drivers on Santa Fe Drive in Littleton have noticed a life-sized white elephant trailing after an elk, a camel, a moose …
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What is that elephant doing?
Drivers on Santa Fe Drive in Littleton have noticed a life-sized
white elephant trailing after an elk, a camel, a moose and a deer
at 6115 S. Santa Fe. They stand out against the tall, dark-green
conifers that shelter the Inn at Hudson Gardens from traffic noise.
Consider them heralds of a magical event.
Hudson Holiday opens Nov. 21, and before then, they will parade
inside the Hudson Gardens boundaries to the large oval garden area,
where they will join more than 20 other full-scale critters,
ranging down to a mouse, and take their assigned places among
curving white yucca poles. There, the menagerie will be washed with
changing colors from floodlamps and more than two dozen
specially-programmed projectors as they welcome visitors to Hudson
The display will run from 5 to 9 p.m. on selected evenings
through Jan. 3. See the information box accompanying this article
for more details.
Designer Lonnie Hanzon happily imagines how sparkling snow will
enhance the scene.
The new lighting extravaganza is a collaboration between a pair
of active local non-profits: the Museum of Outdoor Arts and Hudson
Gardens and Event Center at 6115 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton.
The two local nonprofit organizations have worked together
previously on a display of outdoor sculpture from the MOA
collection. In spring 2010, a new maze/labyrinth will be completed
on a rise in the Gardens, designed by MOA’s Roger Leitner,
available for quiet contemplation.
Entry will be through the concert gates, past the lighted flower
garden and into the welcome garden, where tickets will be sold and
maps with suggested routes will be available.
MOA president Cynthia Madden Leitner describes Hudson Holiday as
“a winking, blinking, flashing, flickering light display complete
with the craziest house ever.”
That house is just west of the oval garden, on the bluff
overlooking the lower part of the display. Garlands with red bows
are strung along fences, with care.
On Nov. 11, Hanzon, creative director at MOA and designer of the
display, was completing a script for mythical residents Martha and
Fred Kaplinski, who go totally overboard decorating their home. He
has actors hired to record a short show that will turn Fred’s
lighting on and off in segments, following Hanzon’s storyline. (His
focus on low wattage LED lighting throughout is recognized as a
green technology path to holiday joy.)
A crew of specialists from California flew in to set up the
controllers on the house, a false front that hides the Hudson
“It has 105 channels,” Hanzon says, that turn off and on in time
with chatter between Fred and Martha , interspersed with five
songs. Local technical expert Tim Keenan will keep it
On the roof of the residence, visitors will see 1950s-era Santa
and reindeer, patterned from a Popular Mechanics magazine
When visiting families leave the house, they will walk down to
the lighted Garden Railway area, a year-round favorite, where a
rhinestone-studded train, complete with snowplow, will operate in
the miniature landscape which includes historic Littleton
buildings. The pergolas beyond the train will be decorated,
electric sheep will graze (think Philip Dick’s “Do Androids Dream
of Electric Sheep?”) and the new barn will be the location for hot
chocolate and tickets for horse and wagon rides looping around the
south end of the Gardens.
Electric rabbits will scamper across the landscape and at the
western edge of the wetlands will be the wagons that hold Emry
Gweldig’s wacky and wondrous inventions, such as a Joy Juicer.
(Gweldig and his inventions are also products of Hanzon’s always
A camp of paisley, polka dot and patterned teepees is set up
near the pond and farther south is Frost Island, where a giant
rotating chandelier of icicles floats above a gazebo, next to a
spreading old willow wrapped in lights that phase from sapphire to
white and back. An arborist was hired to wrap lights here, on the
tall ancient cottonwoods, the decorative pear trees and more.
Seasonal music will surround the fantasy.
Dress warmly since this is an outdoor event. There will be
several places to warm up and hot cocoa will be available.
Colorado Community newspapers is a media sponsor for Hudson
If you go:
Hudson Holiday runs Nov. 21 through Jan. 3 at Hudson Gardens,
located at 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m.
Nov. 21-22, 27-29, Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-23, 26-31, Jan. 1-3, For
information, visit www.hudsonholiday.com, 797-8565
x321. Admission: $8 adults; $7 seniors; $6 age 4 to 12; 3 and under
free. Last tickets sold at 8:30 p.m.
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