The 2014 edition of the Nights of Lights at Guido Gardens will begin Thursday.
The event, which has become a tradition for those in Metter and southeast Georgia, began with the first Christmas lights being installed in the Gardens in 1991.
The lights will be on in Guido Gardens each night from 6-9 p.m. through Wednesday, Dec. 31. There is no admission charged to stroll through the Gardens enjoying the family friendly and inspiring light displays.
Stringing the lights throughout the Garden started in October. Mary Guido, wife of Guido Evangelistic Association President Larry Guido, and her crew of workers have carefully placed the various lighted displays throughout Guido Gardens. Additionally, almost every tree and shrub has lights intertwined through its branches. This major undertaking has consumed Mary Guido and her staff as they determined which sites would best highlight the displays and give visitors the best view.
Those responsible for getting the Gardens ready for the Nights of Lights had an early deadline this year. The Gardens had to be ready a week early for the Guido Bible Institute Prayer Walk that took place last Thursday. The students of Guido Bible Institute walked throughout the Gardens on that date with the specific task of praying for the event, the visitors and the Christmas season.
Guests attending Nights of Lights should park in the lot next to the Guido Bible Institute Building. The parking area is lit and will be staffed by attendants who will guide visitors to the Gardens’ entryway, which is flanked by life-sized toy soldiers.
Inside the Gardens, permanent features such as waterfalls, streams and gazebos have been enhanced with lighted displays that include patriotic themes such as a large American flag, the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty; whimsical figures including tree-climbing bears, hummingbirds hovering over blooming flowers, and a multicolored peacock; and biblical scenes of Noah’s Ark and the Ten Commandments. A gazebo featuring a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake is on the open lawn, and a full-sized sleigh is conveniently located to allow guests to pose photographs made by their friends and families.
A perennial highlight of Nights of Lights, the life-sized Nativity scene, is located in the rear of the Gardens under a trellis. The crèche in the Gardens includes mechanized figures of shepherds, wise men and the Holy Family with Baby Jesus in the manger. Overhead, life-sized angels hover as a recording of the late Dr. Michael Guido reading the scriptural Christmas story is broadcast.
Visitors to the Nights of Lights will want to stop by the chapel in the Pines which has been festooned with Christmas banners and accent lighting. Inside the chapel, video recordings of “Seeds from the Sower” will play on a large-screen television set. These digitally remastered recordings will remind older visitors of the popular “Seeds from the Garden of Your Heart” that many remember and will introduce younger viewers to Michael Guido, the founder of Guido Evangelistic Association.
After leaving the chapel and continuing through the Gardens, guests are welcomed to visit the Sower Museum inside the offices of the Guido Evangelistic Association. The museum, containing documents, artifacts and photographs, tells the story of Michael Guido and the Guido Evangelistic Association.
Visitors to Nights of Lights are reminded that this is an outdoor event, so they should dress for the weather. They are also reminded that children should be supervised by adults.
Guido Gardens can accommodate groups of all sizes. Parking is available for church vans and buses as well as for passenger cars.
Guido Gardens is located at 600 N. Lewis St. in Metter. For more information, call (912) 685-2222.