Gardens Aglow: See the Gardens in a whole new light

Posted:  Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 9:30am

For the third year running, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is welcoming visitors back to its annual seasonal celebration, Gardens Aglow. This year, CMBG is taking its dramatic display to new heights with more than 500,000 LED lights, making the largest light display in Maine not only bigger, but brighter. There is something for everyone to experience during an enchanting evening of Gardens Aglow — in addition to dramatic lighting, visitors will enjoy music, special food and beverage options in the café and holiday shopping in the gift shop.

Gardens staff have already begun the annual transformation of CMBG’s central gardens from garden paradise to winter wonderland. Using cutting-edge LED technology, festively lit creations will adorn the roughly 14 acres of central gardens on the CMBG campus. Visitors will explore the area on foot; weather permitting, complimentary wheelchairs and scooters will also be available on a first come, first served basis.

Gardens Aglow runs Nov. 17-Dec. 31 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 4 to 9 p.m. (closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve). Though tickets are available on-site, to save money and help regulate traffic flow, visitors to Gardens Aglow are encouraged to purchase their tickets online. Tickets are timed for three separate arrivals each night, 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Discounts are available for CMBG members and groups of 10 or more. See for all pricing options. To encourage off-site parking, shuttle buses will run continuously during Gardens Aglow, beginning at 4 p.m. from the municipal lot in Boothbay Harbor to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

To show our appreciation to the Boothbay peninsula for the tremendous outpouring of support we’ve received throughout the year, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has planned a special Community Night at Gardens Aglow on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Community Night is a special complimentary showing for Boothbay peninsula residents only — a fun way to kick off the season and enjoy the company of friends.

Community Night tickets will be timed with entry at 4 p.m., 6 p.m., or 7:30 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are required. Children under the age of 17 accompanied by an adult will be admitted without a ticket. Tickets for this special showing will not available at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens or online and are redeemable for Dec. 6 only. Details of ticket distribution are coming soon.

Annual holiday lighting contest

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is also excited to once again invite community members to take part in our annual Gardens Aglow holiday lighting contest. If your home or business is located on the Boothbay peninsula in the towns of Edgecomb, Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor or Southport, and your property is visible from a public roadway, you are eligible to win. This year we will have two categories — business and residential. Employees and family members of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are not eligible to enter.

To participate, complete the registration form at, click on the “Contest” link and email your entry to Taylor at, or mail it to: Gardens Aglow Contest, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, P.O. Box 234, Boothbay, ME 04537.

Emails and letters must be received by Nov. 27, 2017 to be eligible for judging. There is no fee to enter. Your display must be completely installed and lit nightly between the hours of 4 and 9 p.m., beginning no later than Dec. 1, 2017 and continuing through the evening of Dec. 31, 2017.

Displays will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the community. Points will be given for originality, effective use of color, and overall impact when viewed from the nearest public roadway. Judges will consider residential and business displays separately.

Winners will be announced during Community Night at Gardens Aglow on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Prizes are as follows: first place in both categories will receive $1,500 plus 15 tickets to Gardens Aglow, 2017. Second place will receive $1,000 plus 10 tickets to Gardens Aglow and third place will receive $500 plus five tickets to Gardens Aglow.

Through Oct. 31, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens gift shop is selling the same LED lights we use at the Gardens at our cost. CMBG purchased these professional-quality lights at a discount and is passing the same price on to all guests and members. Limited quantities and colors are available.

The Boothbay peninsula is the place to be for wintertime cheer. During the months of November and December, Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor offer visitors a wide variety of seasonal activities, including special events, dining, lodging, and shopping experiences. Begin your day harbor-side with all that the Boothbay Festival of Lights has to offer. Then, as darkness falls, let the magic continue with Gardens Aglow. For a complete listing of Festival events, visit