Winterlights at Newfields Welcomes Us to Holiday Season

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Winterlights”, presented by Bank of America, has returned to Newfields this season from Nov. 23 through Jan. 5. The event welcomed nearly 110,000 guests last year and will draw even more people in this season with tickets rapidly selling out. Almost half of the event’s visitors haven’t even been to the Newfields at all or for a very long time, so it’s a fun way to get introduced to their stunning gardens and grounds. During the run of “Winterlights”, The Café, the IMA Galleries, and The Garden at Newfields all close at 4 p.m. every day, so this is an entirely outdoor event for those curious. In other words, bundle up and bring someone with you to keep you warm. 

Before you head out, the museum has apple cider and hot chocolate (with spiked options available for adults 21 and up) to sip on in their Wintermarket at the beginning or end of your stroll. Of course, there are seasonal ornaments, a Winter Light candle hand-poured by Pittsboro Candle Co. from Pittsboro, Indiana, and treats from Newfield’s personal culinary arts department for sale. Everything they’re selling is local, including the peppermint vodka for the hot chocolate and Sun King’s Christmas brew called ‘Electric Reindeer,’ which is pretty cool. 

Upon entering, The Garden at Newfields is elaborately decorated with over 1.5 million lights on its 80 feet high trees for you, your friends, and your family to walk beneath under the night sky. The “Landscape of Light” has also returned to the lawn in front of the Lilly House, with 300,000 lights sprawling and flickering to the tunes of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” If you’re interested, you’re also able to walk through “Deck the Halls” at the Lilly House, where you’ll find its rooms filled with delicate origami ornaments, paper garlands, lantern-filled archways, an

Karl Unnasch’s “Playtime in Indy”

d hand-cut snowflakes. It’s a truly unique decorating concept, in an otherwise very old school interior and it’s a beautiful union of old-meets-new. 

Once you head past The Garden and Lilly House, you’ll discover the beautiful lights of the “Whimsical Terrace.” Karl Unnasch’s “Playtime in Indy”, a 50-foot tree of toys, is back once again, and the toys will be donated to families in need as is the tradition. The ending of this spectacle is called the “Ice Storm Walk,” where you find a snowstorm composed of lights that seemingly fall over you asyou go through the 400 feet long promenade. This path also includes the “Ice Cave” which is a tunnel of, yes, over 30,000 lights on top of everything else. Everywhere you look from beginning to end, it is a sparkling light show that would appeal to anyone whether or not they celebrate Christmas. 

The nice thing about having to be outside in the cold during “Winterlights”, aside from the possibility of a spiked beverage, is that there are wood-burning fires along the trails to warm your hands next to. It was also a pleasant surprise to discover that you can make your own s’mores with Girl Scout cookies if you’d like. The whole event is a reassuring sign that Indianapolis is trying to make arts and culture accessible to everyone, especially to those who may have not considered going to Newfields in the past. If the holiday season represents anything, it is taking part in community and families gathering to enjoy something festive together: “Winterlights” truly exemplifies this concept. So grab your tickets while you still can to support a local, Indianapolis cultural event and see something cool in the meantime. 

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