TWIN FALLS — Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are already putting up their Christmas trees and hanging up their stockings. With such a tough year, many people are eager to get into the holiday spirit. However, COVID has forced numerous events to be canceled, leaving many to wonder what is there to do for fun this holiday season?
This year marks the ninth year that Orton Botanical Garden will be hosting a Christmas light display the whole family can enjoy. It is estimated close to 200,000 lights have been hung up, and some other displays will also be shown. Since events have been canceled, and there are restrictions on what people should or shouldn't do, the garden will provide that outlet for families to have fun safely.
President of the Board of Directors for Orton Botanical Garden, LaMar Orton, said, "I think that people really want to have a situation where they can get out and experience Christmas in a little different way and yet feel safe doing it."
The garden has seen attendance increase almost yearly, and now with limited activities available, organizers expect an increase in visitors once again. With the potential of large numbers of patrons, numerous changes had to be made.
"Other years we've just opened the garden up, and people could wander throughout, wherever they wanted to throughout the garden. This year it's going to all be one way. We're asking for people to socially distance and to not get in large groups and to wear a mask," said Orton.
To try and create more room, Orton is encouraging people to come during the week, rather than weekends when it will be even busier.
With such an enormous attraction, visitors from neighboring towns are sure to attend. The city of Twin hopes all guests will be mindful and do their best to limit exposure to others.
"We know a lot of people are going to continue to come to Twin Falls for services and to play. But we just want to encourage them to also practice those same safety protocols that are being encouraged across the rest of the United States right now," said Joshua Palmer, the Public Information Officer for Twin Falls.
Since the garden is a nonprofit, those in charge are hopeful the community will do their part to help support them. "We don't require tickets. We do ask for donations of five dollars a person. But we recognize these are hard times, and we're not going to turn anyone away," said Orton.
The garden's hours are 6:00 pm-10:00 pm every day until New Years Day