Light exhibit heralds the coming of spring

Colorful lighting displays have long been associated with the Christmas season, but a Salt Lake City garden and arboretum this year is adapting the tradition to herald the coming of spring, with a Temple Square staff member lending his expertise.

"Spring into Lights," which promises to be an annual event at the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum near the University of Utah campus, began March 20 and extends nightly through April 4.Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the Seventy flipped the switch illuminating some 5,000 colored lights on scores of wire frames depicting wildlife and fantasy figures. Elder Morrison, Utah North Area president, represented President Gordon B. Hinckley, who had accepted the invitation to do the ceremonial honor but was called away because of an emergency.

Lloy Romrell, who spearheads the annual Christmas lighting on Temple Square, was enlisted by the arboretum staff "to give us guidance and help us through the pitfalls of a light show for the first time," said director Mary Pat Matheson.

Melody Creations of Ogden, Utah, headed by artist C. Milton Neeley, created the three-dimensional, metal-frame figures on which the lights are strung. Dispersed over pathways lighted with lanterns and bonfires and covering 25 acres, they include a buffalo, deer, elk, red-tongued frogs animated to pursue lighted dragon flies, a fish jumping over a bridge, Cinderella and her coach, and Easter bunnies.

"This spring festival of lights provides an unusual occasion, made more magic, I believe, because of the night time setting, for parents and children together to enjoy the lighted images of wild animals, of spring flowers and of fantasy figures," Elder Morrison said.

"How blessed we are in this state . . . to have here, nestled against the foothills of the mountains, this superb facility."

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