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Excess Baggage

Sure, it sounds easy enough – bag, sand, candle – but multiply by 8,000 and you’ve got Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden. The thought of lighting and extinguishing 8,000 candles for 16 nights would make anyone want to throw herself on the nearest cholla cactus. Not with Marcia Flynn running the show. She’s the Garden’s director of event services and Las Noches chairwoman.

“It used to be back-breaking work,” Flynn says, “but the best story is how we’ve made it as efficient as possible.”

She’s talking about the lumi-lighter and the lumi-snuffer. Made from household items like butane lighters and turkey basters, these lum-inventions are the brainchildren of the Garden’s staff and volunteers and make the process quicker and a lot less painful.

This year, you’ll find the 8,000 luminarias, along with food and music, lighting the way for the Garden’s newest attractions: the Berlin Agava Yucca Forest, an exhibit of bronze sculptures by Native American artist Allan Houser, and a 900-square-foot synthetic ice-skating rink (skates included with admission).

Thu., Dec. 10, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 11, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 12, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 13, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 17, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 18, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 19, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 20, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 21, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 22, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 23, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 26, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 27, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 28, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Tue., Dec. 29, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 30, 5:30-9:30 p.m., 2009


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