FORT BRAGG, CA., 11/21/22 — One of the most magical holiday events in Mendocino County returns when the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg hosts its annual Festival of Lights starting November 25.
Over the past few weeks, staff and volunteers designed and installed seemingly countless holiday light displays among a portion of the 47 acres of gardens. Beginning this Friday, when the sun sets, the garden will transform from a peaceful space of greenery and flowers to a dazzling display of mythical creatures, fantasylands, and visual drama.
Over 9,000 individuals are anticipated to visit the Festival of Lights. This year brings a theme of “the sea and the stars,” according to Jaime Jensen, manager of the botanical gardens. “Every light scene tells a story and every year we add details to the story,” says Jensen.
Jensen shared that this year has more lights than ever, and that the team focused on showcasing the sculptural aspects of the trees in the garden, including tea trees, wax myrtle, and the garden’s famous rhododendrons. The trees and their trunks are decorated in sparkling colored lights to showcase their beauty.
Jamie Campione, event coordinator at the gardens, recommends that while touring the Festival of Lights, guests “don’t forget to look up!” and that the experience will be multi-sensory: “get ready to use all your senses.”
Guests can also enjoy hot cocoa, apple cider and sweets from the Friends of the Garden Holiday Cafe and peruse the garden’s gift shop for holiday gifts during the evening.
Campione provided two tips on making the most of your experience at the Festival of Lights. First, Campione recommends locals visit on Sundays, which are a bit less crowded than other event days. The event will also feature lots of opportunities for colorful selfies and snap shots. Campione suggests bringing a camera and to “snap your family holiday photo and make a tradition of it.”
Festival of Lights at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 18220 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg, runs each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 25 through December 18. All ages, $10 per person and free for children under 16. Tickets highly recommended. Call (707) 964-4352 or visit here for more information.