Twelve Days at Night – In a brand-new exhibit, the Dallas Arboretum makes the famous song “12 Days of Christmas” come to life!

By Ally Van Deuren

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On the first day of Christmas, what did the Dallas Arboretum give to Dallasites? Twelve Days of Christmas, the first annual Christmas spectacular at the gardens that brings the well-loved song “12 Days of Christmas” to life.

Sponsored by the Amegy Bank of Texas, this $2 million exhibit opened on Nov. 16, 2014 and will remain open until Jan. 4, 2015, so don’t miss out while it is here!

Patrons can enjoy a three-quarter mile walk through the Dallas Arboretum while viewing the elaborate collection of 25-foot Victorian gazebos. Each gazebo is filled with the characters and animals from the dearly loved Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

“Every dress, hat and costume has lavish attention to detail that is amazing. This extraordinary creation is over the top,” said Brian Shivers, Dallas Arboretum board chairman. “Each gazebo is encased in glass to both protect it from the elements and to lend an almost ‘music box’ quality to the exhibition.”

Most of the twelve gazebos have mechanical animation that brings the story to life. For instance, in the “Nine Ladies Dancing” exhibit, the ladies swirl around with dance cards and in “10 Lords-A-Leaping,” it seems as if the 10 men ice skating on the rink are leaping so much that they may fall over. Each scarf, bowtie and mustache serves a specific purpose in each of the 12 exhibits throughout the garden, which makes it clear that skilled designer Tommy Bourgeois and the employees at Dallas Stage Scenery have a knack for detail and finesse.

“Any great work like this we don’t do alone,” says Terry Lendecker, VP of advertising and promotions at the Dallas Arboretum. “This is the work of a lot of great partnerships.”
What ties the ribbon on the package? Carolers dressed in traditional Victorian-era clothing adorn the streets and sing your favorite Christmas jingles. Their diverse repertoire varies from selections such as “Here We Come a Caroling” to “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”

“This event is the perfect event to kick off the holiday spirit,” says Dakota Warde-Levie, a Dallas resident who was visiting the Arboretum for the first time. “The carolers, lights and decorations capture the perfect amount of holiday cheer. It is a unique experience that Dallas has to offer.”

Don’t miss this exhibit, which will close Jan. 4, 2015. But don’t show any sign of a “bah humbug” when it is over; the Dallas Arboretum plans to feature this exhibit every year for the next five years.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The Dallas Arboretum is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The Arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


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