Lights: Tacky and Classy for the Holidays

Lights, lights, and more lights! Light displays, both tacky and classy, abound in Richmond between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Are these really Tacky Lights, or simply Christmas spirit?

Homeowners across the central Virginia’s  metropolitan area have decked their houses in holiday lights, blow-up decorations, store-bought decorations, home-made decorations – all vying to outdo each other with more, better, and over-the-top displays lighting up their homes with Christmas spirit beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving and ending with the New Year.

But homeowners are not the only ones who go “over the top.”  Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens GardenFest of Lights provides a fantastic display, decorating each garden, water feature, and path with a myriad of lights.  The rose garden even has rose lights for the holiday season. And, The GradenFest of Lights will be on display until January 10th!

This fabulous peacock in lights inhabits the lawn below the conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Some of Richmond’s homes have been featured on national television, of course, local television, books and publications, blogs, newspaper articles, even coffee table books.  This phenomenon dates back at least to 1986 and seems to grow exponentially every year.  Patricia Cornwall even mentions Richmond’s Tacky Lights in her book: “Black Notice” saying that Marino’s house was lighting up the sky like an amusement park!

Blow-up Santa and other figures complete this Tacky Lights scene

The sky is aglow with Tacky Lights

There are city blocks of folks who band together and decorate to be included on the Tacky Light Tour, homes along Monument Avenue and in the Fan are all aglow, cul-de-sacs and blocks in the burbs join together in pacts to decorate, and individual homeowners just go all out and begin decorating Labor Day to be ready for their grand illumination Thanksgiving weekend.

More Tacky Lights!

Can you count the lights in this Tacky Light display?

And, then, there’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens who decorate their gardens and conservatory as the Gardenfest of Lights.  This year’s theme is Fire & Ice, combining the Hans Frabel’s glass sculptures with their more traditional holiday elements and lights. The gardens also decorate the conservatory and the educational center.  You’ll even find trains in a setting of miniature structures crafted from natural elements.

One of the houses constructed of natural elements that is part of the model train setup in Lewis Ginter's conservatory

Don’t miss these very Richmond holiday traditions this year or next! It gets better every year!

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