Las Noches de las Luminarias set to open at Desert Botanical Garden

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- The Desert Botanical Garden is celebrating the holidays with its annual tradition: Las Noches de las Luminarias. And the big event is getting underway this weekend.

For 16 magical nights, the Garden will come to life with the soft glow of more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags, thousands of white twinkle lights and the vibrant sounds and sights of 10 entertainment groups.

New this year, the Desert Terrace Gardens and the Lewis Desert Portal exhibits will be lit. Also new this year, on clear nights, the Arizona Astronomical Society will be on site with their telescopes for gazing at stars and planets.

Three options are also available for dining: Gertrude's restaurant, the Patio Café or the holiday buffet.

Huge crowds are expected at the event. But that wasn't the case when it all started 37 years ago. "We only had about 400 people that came, and about 700 luminarias lit," says John Sallot of Desert Botanical Garden. "It was much smaller, but it was a way for the Garden and volunteers to welcome members into the Garden at night."

Las Noches de las Luminarias

Garden Members
$25 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12) (children under three are admitted free)

General Public
$30 for adults, $12.50 for children (ages 3-12) (children under three are admitted free)
Dates: November 28-29, December 12-13, 19-23, 26-30
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Parkway

For tickets visit www.dbg.org or call 480-481-8188