Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Exploring Southern California During the Holidays: Robolights in Palm Springs

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Giant inflatable santa on the roof of this year’s RoboLights display

If you are going to be in Southern California during the holidays and are looking for an outside-the-box holiday experience, consider heading to Palm Springs to see artist Kenny Irwin Jr’s 32nd year of RoboLights, an upcycled holiday lights display unlike any other.

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Robo reindeer outside the RoboLights display

Palm Springs artist Kenny Irwin, Jr.’s more is more aesthetic has been putting on an increasing complex mixed media holiday lights art installation at his father’s home since he was 12. Now in it’s 32nd year, RoboLights is truly something to behold.

Video of the RoboLights reindeer

Visiting RoboLights is like walking through a surreal winter wonderland.

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Surreal winter wonderland at RoboLights

Built on the outdoor property of the artist’s father’s home, the greeter outside RoboLights told us the display has over 4 Acres of lights. It’s wildly impressive in a Watts Towers meets Willy Wonka sort of way. Sculptures are made from repurposed toilets and mannequins, and old dog crates re-worked into Sci-Fi art containing giant spiders, all bedecked with holiday lights.

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Sleigh pulled by team of jackalope

Visiting RoboLights, I felt I was walking through a surreal winter wonderland. Some of the sculptures seemed better suited for a haunted house or dystopian futuristic film set than a holiday light show but that’s what makes RoboLights so interesting.

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Left: Upside down Santa Clause Right: Bunny driving a sleigh straight out of Mad Max

I spoke with some locals who visit RoboLights every year and asked them how much the display changes from year to year. They guessed about 30%– sometimes new elements like color schemes or themes get introduced, or the layout changes.

Video of one of the displays of lights at the 2016 RoboLights

This year’s addition of an inflatables on the roof, including a Santa and a Godzilla with a candy cane,  bit of an uproar. The City of Palm Springs attempted to close down this year’s RoboLights citing safety concerns but the artist prevailed in court last week and the city was denied a restraining order that would only allow residents of the property and contractors to access the robotics and light displays.

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Walls of dolls and fairy lights at RoboLights

RoboLights is open to the public and accepts donations ($5 is recommended).

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Dangling mannequin installation at RoboLights

Sensory overload comes with the territory and some of the subject matter is non-traditional enough that I think adults will enjoy RoboLights more than children with more traditional expectations.

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Mannequins on display at RoboLights

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One of the more light hearted sculptures at RoboLights

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Christmas trees at RoboLights

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Dog crate sculpture at the 2016 RoboLights

Artist Kenny Irwin Jr. has really gone above and beyond and RoboLights is unlike any other holiday lights display I’ve ever seen. If you’re in the Palm Springs area, I’d recommend checking it out. The display runs through January 1, 2017.

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Dystopian holiday spirit on display at RoboLights

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tunnel of lights at RoboLights

Opening hours for RoboLight are from  4-9:30 pm but the display is capacity controlled. If you don’t want to wait in line, consider getting to the outdoor light show when they open.

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RoboLights exterior is hard to miss

 

ROBOLIGHTS is OPEN to the public from Thanksgiving to January 1st 4:00-9:30PM 
The installation – free to the public, but donations are suggested to help defray costs.
Address:
1077 E Granvia Valmonte
Palm Springs, California
(Located in a very residential part of Palm Springs, Robo Lights is in/around the 1077 Property).

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Christmas Market Destination: Wroclaw, Poland

Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh, the social media manager of this blog, recently visited the Christmas Market in Wroclaw, Poland. I asked her to write a guest post about it. Enjoy! – Jen 

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Festive Lights at Wrocław Christmas Market

It’s that time of year again! The Christmas Markets have started to pop up all over the Europe (a few of them can be found in US and Canada, and- believe it or not- in Asia!). What started as a good German holiday tradition is now a well-known global phenomenon, and widely celebrated event across the globe.

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Christmas ornaments and bells for sale

According to European lore, the Christmas Markets started long before Germany became a nation. You are likely to find a Christmas Market located everywhere where German is spoken, including Austria, Switzerland, and some areas of France and Poland. German immigrants brought the tradition across the ocean. The festive atmosphere, wooden huts lit up with fairy lights, tasty foods, warming mulled wine, and lovely communal vibe made it a favorite holiday attraction.

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Reindeer at Rynok Square

The biggest markets draw millions of visitors every year, and those in the largest Polish cities became also popular with tourist coming to country in December from all over the world. Wroclaw (Breslau in German) is the fourth largest city in Poland, and the historical capital of Silesia Region in Western Poland. So it’s easy to see why German ancestry found its way to the hearts of locals. In 2016, the city is a European Capital of Culture and the World Book Capital.

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Salesman sporting moose-like expression

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Hand made goods make great heart-warming gifts! 

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Fairy Wood comes with real fairies!

The major entertainment area is called “Bajkowy Lasek”(Fairy Wood), a place where you can see some Christmas plays for kids, adults can grab a cup of mulled wine, and just embrace the good mood!

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Cup of mulled wine to warm up

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Christmas Lights in Wroclaw

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Classic guests at Christmas Market: Snowmen and Reindeer

It is also a fun and unique way to enjoy your Christmas shopping, and a great alternative to the overcrowded shopping malls!

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Hand crafted ceramics and Christmas Bells

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Mugs and decoupage

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Sweet Gingerbread gifts
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Grilled ‘oscypek’ sheep cheese from the Polish mountains and Lithuanian smoked meats

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Christmas Tree and Bokeh

The Christmas market in Wroclaw is open from November 18 to December 22 in the heart of Wroclaw. Daily hours 10am-9pm

The easiest way to get to Wroclaw is by plane. You can easily fly to Wroclaw’s Copernicus Airport from UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands and Ukraine.

You can also take a train from Dresden (3.5 hours), Kraków (about 5.5 hours), or Warsaw (6-8 hours) to Wrocław.

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