It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. This year’s Holiday at the Arboretum, on view through December 31, is even more wonderful with a new 50 ft. tall Dazzling Musical Tree adding extra twinkle to the garden’s festivities.
Overlooking White Rock Lake, the Dazzling Musical Tree features more 42,000 lights, swirling and dancing to holiday music. “We like to make sure that we’re adding something new and different and special each year,” said Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum’s president and CEO. “We were also trying to spread out the traffic throughout the garden itself. This brings many of our guests further into the garden, onto the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage.”
Brinegar found a video of a similar musical tree in the town of Frankenmuth, Michigan, on YouTube. With the support of an anonymous donor, a firm created the tree and programmed three vignettes of light and music for the Dallas Arboretum. The music and light vignettes play every half hour, lasting eight or nine minutes.
It only took one day to install the tree and the new festive addition comes with technical support. “They are standing by in another city if anything should go wrong with our electronics,” Brinegar said. “It took a little longer for us to make sure that we had the sound correct so that it won’t bleed into the neighborhood. There are many different speakers around, all pointed to the middle.”
The Dazzling Musical Tree complements The Christmas Village. Inspired by European Christmas Markets, or Christkindlmarket, The Christmas Village is comprised of charming shops and façades representing a quaint European hamlet. At night, shop owners pass out samples and local groups provide live entertainment.
Santa Claus, The Christmas Village’s most famous resident, will be at his custom designed home on select nights in November. After Thanksgiving, Santa will be present every night as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
At the heart of Pyramid Square in The Christmas Village is the Marilyn and Ben Weber Family Christmas Pyramid, a 23-foot-tall German-built structure. Each level is decorated with hand-carved elements, lighting, and character movement. The Weber Pyramid debuted in 2020 and presented a challenge for the crew to assemble. “Now the first time, it took a lot longer because all of the instructions came in German,” Brinegar said.
The DeGolyer House, decorated by renowned designer Michael Hamilton, is home to The Artistry of the Nativity. On view each day and every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evening, this collection features hundreds of crèches representing a variety of cultures from around the world. In addition to the Ray Harrington and the Joe Christian collections, the display also includes crèches from Tommy Bourgeois and Peter Hall. These objects are crafted beautifully from many materials including cork, glass, horns, seeds, cornhusks, porcelain, silver, wood and more.
While walking through the garden, visitors can spot the 25-foot-tall Victorian-style gazebos representing each verse of “The 12 Days of Christmas” with some updated characters. Originally designed by The Dallas Opera’s Tommy Bourgeois, these glass gazebos resemble an oversized music box with mannequins and animals that move along with lighting and music from the beloved Christmas carol.
For visitors to enjoy more than a million lights throughout the garden, trimming the historic homes and the 30-foot-tall spruce tree in the center of the garden, the Dallas Arboretum is open more evenings this holiday season. “There’s such a demand now and also people want to come earlier in our display period so that they have less of a crowd,” Brinegar said.
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A respite from pandemic stress, the Dallas Arboretum glistens with holiday magic for the entire family. “As you sit on the hill wherever you want to see the Dazzling Musical Tree, what’s better than fresh air, beauty, a spectacular show and looking out on the lake?” Brinegar said. “I think people are looking for charm, they are looking for shared experiences, they are looking for a place to create memories. We’ve got all of that.”
Learn more: https://www.dallasarboretum.org/