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Holiday show at Rotary Gardens will feature more than 250,000 lights

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
November 19, 2007
— Some people refer to Rotary Gardens as the jewel of Janesville.

This holiday season, the botanical garden on Palmer Drive will sparkle more brightly than ever.


That’s because 250,000 lights—30,000 more than last year—will shine during the 12th annual Winter Wonderland Walk, which opens the weekend of Dec. 7.


Proceeds are used for “continuing operation of Rotary Gardens,” said Mark Dwyer, horticultural director, who orchestrates the event.


Set-up started the second week of October—a week earlier than usual—to reduce the chances that workers would be out in nasty weather, Dwyer said.


That also allowed more time “to iron the bugs out,’’ such as power problems and issues caused by rain that volunteers had to deal with last year, he said.


So far, event organizers haven’t experienced any power problems, but that’s because displays have been shifted to minimize that, Dwyer said.


Although the walk route is the same, Dwyer said, the layout features a major shift of displays.


“We have over 30 obelisks (pyramidal vining structures) with lights as well,’’ Dwyer said.


There also are 50 percent more icicles dangling from the taller trees, he said.


“We also are using displays that weren’t used last year,’’ Dwyer said.


However, he said, “nothing new was fabricated due to budgetary constraints.”


If you go

Who: Rotary Gardens


What: Winter Wonderland Walk


When: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7-9, 14-16, 21-23 and 26-31


Where: 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville


Cost: $6 adults, $5 adult Friends of Rotary Gardens, $3 for children 2 to 13, free for children younger than 2. Tickets available at the door with the last ticket sold at 8:15 p.m.


Donations: Nonperishable food donations for Second Harvest Food Bank, www.secondharvestmadison.org, will be accepted each night of the walk

Other attractions: Wiscon-sin Garden Railway Society model trains will run each night. Quilts from members of the Rock Valley Quilters Guild also will be on display. Santa will visit Sunday evenings before Christmas, and e nightly refreshments will be available as well as entertainment inside the Visitor’s Center


Information: Call (608) 752-3885 or visit www.rotarygardens.org

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