Heritage’s Gardens Aglow Opens in Sandwich

SANDWICH – The Christmas season kicks into full force this weekend and visitors to Heritage Museums & Gardens will be transported to the North Pole for its annual family holiday event.

Gardens Aglow returns Friday evening as the gardens and woodlands will be lit, along with several family-friendly activities, including marshmallow-roasting, music, interactive train displays and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“You will enter under a lot of really sparkling, twinkling lights,” said Allie Mulrow, the Manager of Interpretive Programs for Heritage. “We’ve really amped up all of the light displays that we have outside so as you go through the gardens you are really going to enjoy seeing sort of a winter wonderland.”

Mulrow said Gardens Aglow is all about making family memories.

This is the 14th year Heritage has held a holiday lights display with the last nine falling under the banner of Gardens Aglow.

Visitors will also enter the museums galleries, including the antique car collections with Santa sitting in a Model T.

“At 7 p.m. we have awesome performers who will be doing things like excerpts from the ‘Nutcracker,’” Mulrow said.

The event will also feature strolling carolers on Friday nights.

The programs run through December 30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets, which are limited for each night this year, are available at heritagemuseums.org.

“I want to really encourage people to go on to our website,” said Judith Geotz, the director of marketing and communications for Heritage.

The website features a calendar that will allow guests to see if an evening is already sold out.

The changes were made to provide a better experience for guests by preventing extremely large crowds and long lines, according to Geotz.

Liz Fort, the manager of public programs for Heritage, said a highlight of Gardens Aglow is Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“This is not your average mall Santa, he is the real deal,” Fort said. “He takes a lot of time and care with each family and it’s a really special moment and great photo opportunity as well.”

Fort said interacting with Mrs. Claus is also a delight and is always cooking up something in her kitchen.

A special program will be offered before Gardens Aglow opens each evening.

The Santa VIP Experience begins each Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

“For that ticketed program you get to actually come in early and get early bird parking and have a more intimate and private experience with Santa and Mrs. Claus.”

The experience also includes a carousel ride, and cookies and hot chocolate.

“It’s a great opportunity if you just want something less intense than waiting in the long Santa line and being there with lots and lots of people,” Fort said.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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