Coming off the “overwhelming” success of the first-ever Glow Christmas at Milner Village Garden Centre, co-creator Tamara Jansen offers assurances the month-long holiday light show and Christmas market will be back again for 2018.
“It will be bigger, better, nicer,” she insisted.
And while rejoicing in the triumph of Glow, Jansen also hints to another, new large-scale community event they have in the works.
While she and the team at Darvonda Nurseries are already figuring out ways to expand next year’s Glow, she revealed further plans – intentions to host a giant indoor pumpkin patch event next fall.
“We are hoping to do the largest indoor pumpkin patch,” she said, inspired by an event held annually at the Bellagio casino and hotel in Las Vegas.
So literally before the dust really even has a chance to settle after Glow 2017, Jansen and her family are already meeting with suppliers and other possible partners in their efforts to firm up yet another month-long fall event.
The hope is to transform the Milner Village warehouse into a giant patch and fall garden exhibit, which would have a charity component, too, Jansen explained.
While the pumpkins wouldn’t actually be grown on site, organizers are looking to partner with a grower who could ensure thousands of the orange gourds would be available for guests to pick from.
The event would also feature Darvonda’s own jumbo garden mums, and possible a small market, live music, food and drink, Jansen shared.
“We’ll be designing interactive games and displays to keep everyone occupied, and of course, there will be plenty of Instagram moments throughout the gardens,” Jansen said, noting that literally millions of pictures were likely snapped during Glow.
“We are getting excited,” she said, while clarifying plans for the pumpkin patch are still in the “infancy” stage.
The duration of the pumpkin patch event, for instance, would hinge entirely on how much time her team needs to set up for Glow 2018. Since the pumpkin patch would only be taking up about half of the 80,000 square feet of the space consumed by Glow, she is optimistic set up, tear down, and operation of the two events would have to be meticulously coordinated.
She noted, however, that, last year’s Glow took the team more than a month to set up and they’re already looking at plans that would see the 2018 show expand, so it could prove to be a major juggling act.
Cleaning up after Glow
At the kickoff to Glow, Jansen called it “the biggest Christmas party that Langley has ever seen.”
And it proved so, with even more people attending than she and her family anticipated.
Their pie-in-the-sky goal was to see 80,000 people through during year one.
Much to her surprise, it ended up being even more.
In excess of 100,000 people attended the inaugural event that ran Nov. 24 to Dec. 30.
“It was packed in here,” Jansen said. “We were so excited to have seen so many people in the community come out.”
That translated to great news for the event and its participants, it increased the profile of her family’s long-time nursery business (so many visitors saying they had no idea what Darvonda did), and – most importantly – it helped a few local charities, Jansen explained.
Glow partnered with four main charities this year, Langley Hospice, Canuck Place, Langley Hospital Foundation, and Wagner Hills. While donations were accepted on site with efforts such as pictures with Santa, much of the money for the local charities was raised through online ticket sales. Visitors could select one of the charities, to which they wanted to designate a portion of their ticket price.
Jansen announced Thursday that about $25,000 was raised for the various charities, including $3,800 that was delivered to the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation later afternoon.
On Thursday morning, Langley Hospice’s Shannon Todd Booth was on hand at the Milner Village Garden Centre to find out just how much of that money raised was going to be gifted to for her organization.
She was astonished when a cheque for more than $13,400 was handed over.
Giving back to the community
“We’re so grateful… We had a wonderful experience this year,” Todd Booth told Jansen, also expressing gratitude for the community engagement in the ticket buying process, where so many people specifically earmarked the hospice as their chosen recipient.
This charity partnership was also exciting, she said, for both hospice volunteers who were on site during the event, and now the patients and clients they serve.
That money will go a long ways towards helping the palliative and bereavement care and support services and programs offered by the organization, she said.
While that was a “thrilling” experience that apparently made Todd Booth’s day, she was also admittedly tickled to get one last chance to sit in Santa’s sleigh.
Even though Christmas has been over for weeks, and almost all of the Glow props were wrapped and packed away in the the week after the event concluded, there was still a large sleigh on the floor of the greenhouses during Todd Booth’s visit on Thursday, and she was quick to climb on board.
After all, she said, she and her daughter, along with thousands of other Glow guests had pictures taken on that very sleigh – a symbol of the magic that was Glow.
Todd Booth was also moved when Jansen extended an invitation for her organization and its volunteers to come back next year.
“We’re excited about next year,” Jansen said. “We’re going to do it again… we’re going to make sure you guys come and join us.”
Township Mayor Jack Froese was also on hand for Thursday morning’s cheque presentation, receiving accolades for the Township’s role in helping make the new event possible.
“Thanks Mayor Froese for making sure we could make this happen,” Jansen said.
Froese reciprocated the appreciation.
“It’s companies like you that make Langley so great. And all the people who came out to support Glow and to raise this kind of money for hospice, it is fantastic,” he said.
“That’s what Langley is. Langley real is a caring, giving community, and you’re a big part of it,” Froese told Jansen.
Putting on his enterpreneur’s hat, he took the opportunity to find out a bit more about the company and its economic footprint in Langley.
He was told that Darvonda Nurseries, and by extensionMilner Village Garden Centre, has about 20-acres of its operation under glass growing vegetables and bedding plants, and he was interested to learn that it employs upwards of 200 people during peak seasons.
Now, it would seem, it’s entered the entertainment business – hosting not just one huge community event a year, but two.
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