Just gimme the light. What’s that you say? That’s not what Sean Paul meant in that song? Silly me. Last night, the Henderson skies were lit up enough to make Clark Griswold weep. For 22 years, the Ethel M Chocolate Factory has been hosting their annual cactus lighting for the holiday season, and it’s a stunner.
The rest of the country may have their bristly Douglas firs, but in Vegas we just gotta work with what we’ve got. And that happens to be cactus. Every inch of the three-acre cactus garden at Ethel M is covered in glittery goodness. More than half a million lights, animated reindeer and holiday décor cover the desert grounds.
Last night’s annual lighting celebration was hosted by Mercedes of MIX 94.1 and included special performances by a capella group Human Nature, the Sin City Opera and Jabbawockeez. Guests enjoyed plenty of holiday festivities like photos with Santa, free chocolate samples, face painters, balloon artists and raffle prizes. The good people of the Las Vegas valley banded together and brought food donations for Three Square food bank and toy donations for HELP of Southern Nevada.
If you missed the lighting, don’t sweat it, there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Every Friday through Sunday until Christmas, the big man himself will be making a special appearance. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., jolly old Saint Nick will be taking time out of his very special toy making schedule to hear what little Bobby and Cindy want under the tree this year.
When’s the last time you went caroling? Probably never, so here’s your chance to really get into the holiday spirit. Local choirs have been charged with sprinkling even more holiday cheer every Friday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. So if your singing sounds a little more like screeching, not to worry, the pros will drown you out.
Almost 1 million visitors from all over the world visit the factory and gardens each year. Opened in 1981 by Forrest Mars Sr., he named the business after his mama and has used her recipe for chocolates ever since. The adjoining Botanical Cactus Garden features more than 300 types of cactus including spotted aloe, agave plants, Texas prickly pears and yuccas.
Unlike our good friend Clark Griswold, the Holiday Cactus Garden will be lit for much longer than a few glorious seconds. It’s open nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is free to the public. See more Las Vegas attractions.