The self proclaimed "Mr. Chocolate", Flamingo comedian and Las Vegas resident George Wallace, once again was on hand to emcee the 15th annual Christmas lighting of the Botanical Cactus Gardens at Ethel M Chocolates. He was joined by Clint Holmes and Zowie Bowie, along with local choral groups performing. You can check out a quick video clip of our community funny man at the event, here at Fox 5 Las Vegas.
The 3 acre Cactus Gardens are said to have over 650,000 lights this year, up from last year's half million. They are carefully draped over the collection of cactus and other desert plants and trees found in all corners of the globe. There are a variety of school and community groups that may perform in the evenings singing carols, and of course Santa is there in his North Pole gazebo.
You can also step inside the M&M gift shop and take a short walk through the Ethel M factory's self guided tour, and come out in the showroom for a free sample. Of course there is plenty of candy there either pre-boxed or hand selected that you can purchase, as well as the treats available from the Chocolate Lounge. You might want to grab a hot chocolate as you enjoy the display.
If you haven't figured out the Ethel M and M&M connection, it's Mars Candy. Forrest Mars crafted this fine chocolatier in remembrance of the way his mother 'Ethel' made her own confections in his youth. Many of her recipes and methods are still used today for their creations that also travel beyond Las Vegas. Besides the Ethel's Lounges, they have done custom gift boxes for many premier presentations, including the Oscars, major golf tournaments, and many more.
The gardens were the result of Forrest's other passion....Botany. They are open seven days a week, only closing on Christmas day. The light display runs through Jan. 1, 2009 and is open until 10 PM during this time. There's no charge for this Las Vegas holiday tradition, or any time you stop by for a visit. Just one more of the interesting places and events you have right in your backyard when living here in the Las Vegas valley.
We dropped in again the other night and caught a break that it wasn't crowded, a perfect time to catch some shots of the displays. Unfortunately my photographer didn't have one of his tripods, but he managed some freehand night shots. So here's a few of the 'Christmas Trees of the desert'. To see the pictures full screen, instead of using PLAY, click the HD / Full Screen button on the bottom of the player below, and when finished click it again or use the ESC key to return.
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