As we go to press, exceedingly artistic Museum of Outdoor Arts
elves are stringing lights in the trees and on the Hudson
Residence, rounding up a herd of electric sheep and assorted other
life-sized critters (including an elephant), stringing miles of
electric cord and readying fantastic flora, Emry Gweldig’s wagons,
giant lighted yuccas — as well as inventing a collection of new
The Second Annual Hudson Holiday Light Display opens Nov. 19 and
runs through New Year’s Day at Hudson Gardens and Events
Fifteen of Hudson Gardens’ acres are filled with state of the
art lighting — LED lights use very little energy and last a long
time. Those electric sheep are highlighted with constantly changing
“Hazel and Fred sold the the crazy Holiday House (built around
the Hudson Residence), to a nice gentleman” Lonnie Hanzon reports,
tongue firmly in cheek. The new owner (name to be announced as soon
as he thinks of it), has learned that he will have to deal with
keeping the house lighting show going with its 120 light channels,
multiple song book and special effects and he is not happy— more on
this when it’s all figured out!
Hanzon invents stories constantly to accompany the objects that
grow out of his imagination. He said this is his 29th Christmas
season — he’s designed displays in Hong Kong, Dallas and elsewhere,
as well as Denver store windows and previous displays for the MOA
at Fiddler’s Green and Cherry Creek.
To date, he’s named most of the 20 new doll houses that will
form a village in the demonstration garden where the dahlia display
holds forth in season. Each roof has individually-nailed-down
miniature shingles and they were built, assembled, painted and left
out in the rain, then re-glued and touched up where necessary to
make them weather-proof. Look for a Striped House, the Paisley
House, Checkered House, Rococo House, Checkered, Bubble, etc. Each
will be lit with new miniature LED lights Hanzon has developed with
Diogen Lighting, the international Centennial-based company which
manufactures millions of commercial and residential LED lights and
supports this project.
Hanzon promises two new trains, a trolley and a new train
village which includes a toy factory, city hall and more, built in
a smaller scale (one-half inch to 2 feet) than the doll houses,
with a similar level of detail.
Another new attraction is a luminous garden, carefully located
in the wetland area. Magical plants will be illuminated with black
light. Because everything must be safe for this delicate
environment, no paint could be used, because it might flake off.
Hanzon talks of prowling through hardware departments with a
miniature black light, looking for materials that are reactive to
it. Flowers are cut from recycled pop bottles, plastic cables and
other items will glow under special large black light
Along the horse and carriage paths will be motion controlled
lights that will come up — gently, “little scampers of light” — as
the carriages approach. When asked how the horses might react,
Hanzon says he discussed this with the handler, who said these
horses are accustomed to navigating in downtown Denver traffic and
nothing upsets them.
“I’m helping more with the marketing this year,” he said.
To broadcast the display’s presence among us, the Wizard in
Residence at the MOA (aka creative director), has created what he
calls “my promotional car.” After searching the Internet for a
nearby beautiful old Cadillac that runs, he narrowed the search
from 400 to about 20 and went shopping. The result is a huge purple
1958 Seville, which is street safe after a visit to the shop, ready
to roll. It was ready to debut at the Nov. 6 Night at the Museums
and elsewhere in weekend metrowide holiday parades and events.
Hanzon hopes to draw families from the north side of the metro
area, as well as repeat visits (with their friends) of the
thousands who visited in 2009.
This art car has 1200 LED lights in patterns, antique Swarovski
crystals on the grill, a 20 channel music system and a tree on top
with bubble machine. Of course, it is labeled with Hudson Holiday
information and spangled with stars. He will stop on private
property to “do its show,” rather than being a dangerous
distraction in traffic. Since it guzzles gas, it won’t go more than
Hanzon says art cars are very popular elsewhere across the
country, where there are festivals and shows, but they haven’t
really caught on yet in Denver. This should probably get other
creative minds working.
If you go:
Hudson Holiday runs from Nov. 19 through Jan. 1 at Hudson
Gardens and Event Center, 6115 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littletonon select
nights from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19, 20, 26, 27. Dec. 3,4,10, 11, 17,
18, 19 through Jan. 1 daily. Tickets available at Hudson Gardens or
at the Hudson Holiday website.