In photos: NC Arboretum’s second annual Winter Lights holiday exhibit

The "Dream Quilt" light display in the foreground of the electric Christmas tree. Photo by Pat Barcas.

The North Carolina Arboretum’s second annual Winter Lights holiday exhibit officially kicks off Nov. 20.

Through Sat., Jan. 2, 2016, from 6- 10 p.m., visitors can walk through a 3-acre tour of the arboretum’s nationally-known gardens, which are dressed in uniquely-lit displays and landscapes. Produced in collaboration with Jerry Stripling — who is a former designer and manager of holiday decorations, special projects and events for Walt Disney World — Winter Lights is designed with special installations, which include more than 200,000 energy-efficient LED lights.

This year’s show features include a special animated 50-ft. tree placed over the arboretum’s Johnston Pool, which displays a programmed light show every 30 minutes starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. The “Lights of the Season” Twinkling Tree is a structure dressed with 8,000 LED bulbs.

Other event elements include a free children’s craft station inside the arboretum’s education center, nightly holiday entertainment primarily performed by local area school and choir groups, and the arboretum’s Rocky Cove Railroad, a garden-scale model train.

Winter Lights tickets are available for purchase through or by visiting All tickets must be purchased in advance and are date-specific. Pricing is $18 for adults and $16 for children (ages 5 to 11). Children aged 4 and under get in free. Group tickets are also available at $15 per person for a minimum of 20 people. Members of The North Carolina Arboretum Society receive a $2 discount on all ticket purchases.

For more information on Winter Lights, visit



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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at Follow me @pbarcas

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