Story by Lynn Hobbs, photos by George Dissmeyer, published in the November-December 2021 issue of Lakelife magazine.
Normally a serene setting to appreciate nature’s beauty bathed in glowing rays of sunlight, Lockerly Arboretum becomes a wonderland of twinkling Christmas lights at night during the final two months of the year.
Lockerly in Lights provides visitors a chance to experience festive holiday cheer while remaining safe and socially distanced. Guests remain in their vehicles to drive through the 1-mile loop and view the many displays of shimmering lights.
The event was introduced last year, according to Lockerly Executive Director Jennifer Pollard. “We started it because of Covid,” she explained. “Typically, our holiday activities revolved around Rose Hill (the antebellum house on Lockerly’s grounds), but because of the virus, we couldn’t have 80 people in there safely, so we decided to do the lights to offer everyone a way to be safe and socially distanced.”
The response was astounding. Pollard said approximately 5,000 people went through the displays last year on the five Saturday nights it was opened. “So, we decided to keep doing it this year,” she noted.
“Lockerly in Lights has been such a beautiful addition to the Christmas Season in our area,” Susan Eilers said last year on Lockerly’s Facebook page. “Thanks to everyone who worked to plan and implement this opportunity for the community.” Another commenter said their “four grandchildren from California loved it.”
Last year’s drive-through exhibit also became the performance stage for Georgia College’s production of The Nutcracker because the theatre had to close due to the pandemic, but the ballet will return to the Russell Auditorium this year.
The 2021 exhibit will feature live music and has many more lights and displays than last year, Pollard said. Follow Lockerly Arboretum on Facebook to stay up to date with the schedule of performers.
If you go:
· Lockerly in Lights is open only on Saturdays, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., November 20 through December 18.
· The cost is $10 per car, check or cash only. No more than 10 passengers per vehicle.
· Lockerly Arboretum is at 1531 Irwinton Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061.
· Visitors must remain in their vehicles at all times.
· Call 478-452-2112 for more information.