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L.A. Beat

Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens set to celebrate the seasons with eighth annual Winter Lights Festival

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The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens are looking forward to bringing the whole community together for the holiday season with the eighth annual Winter Lights Festival, which officially opens to the public, Nov. 30.

 This year’s theme is a celebration of the seasons —  Haru (Spring), Natsu (Summer), Aki (Fall) and Fuyu (winter). The display includes three light tunnels, light panels and Japanese lanterns and parasols done up in at least 170,000 lights.


Michelle Day Miles talks about the Winter Lights Festival. Photo by Richard Amery

“I’ve been hanging lights too. I lost count around summer,” said Nikka Yuko  Japanese Gardens executive director  Michelle Day Miles.

“ We’re about 90 per cent finished putting it together,” she continued, adding Nikka Yuko have been working on the display since October.


 There will be no ice sculptures this year.


“The company we work with changed their business plan to focus on smaller sculptures,”  said Miles, who has been involved with the festival since it started in 2016.

She said there will still be a lot to see and do at the Winter Lights Festival.


“What I enjoy most about the Winter Lights festival is watching  people experience it. It is about bringing the whole community together,” Miles said, crediting generous sponsors for  helping the Festival become a success.

 Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens is planning a discount admissions cross-promotion with  Glow Lethbridge.


“It is a completely different experience,”  Miles said, encouraging people to check out both exhibits, she said,  advising people to dress for the weather.


“We really appreciate the collaboration,” she continued, noting they are expecting another increase in visitors to Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens for the Winter Lights festival. Last year,  they had visitors to 30,672 visitors— a 32 per cent  increase from the previous years.


“ It’s an affordable, family friendly experience,” she said, adding people can combine seeing the Winter Lights Festival with a variety of special activities happening at Nikka Yuko including Taiko Drummers, Minyo dancers and jazz music on some Thursdays.


 The Nikka Yuko  Japanese Garden  Winter Lights Festival runs until Feb. 24. Admission is  $13.50 for adults, Five and under can see it for free. The exhibit is open Thursday through Sunday Through December, then changes to  Thursday through Saturday in January and Friday and Saturday in February. Tickets area available at the Bunka Centre and online.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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