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Glow in the Park will light up the night

Glow in the Park, at the Yampa River Botanic Park.
Submitted by Jeff Hall

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the day’s sunlight rolls out of the Yampa Valley, several flowers in the Yampa River Botanic Park start to settle down for the evening. The petals of the California poppy close up, gazanias fold and the blooms on the morning glories close.

It’s a process called nyctinasty, which protects pollen and nectar, and it protects the plants from night’s cooler temperatures. The Botanic Park gates are closed and locked.

Three hundred and sixty-four days of the year that concludes any eventful happenings for the Botanic Park and its inhabitants, until the next day’s sunrise. But on Sunday, Aug. 18, cool, dark dusk brings something warm and bright — the second annual Glow in the Park event.



“It’s really the only evening event that takes place at the gardens,” said Emily Hines, marketing and special events coordinator with the city of Steamboat Springs’ Parks and Recreation Department.

Paper lanterns are available at the event for a recommended donation of $20 for one lantern, $30 for two, $40 for three or $50 for five. All proceeds benefit the Botanic Park. Lanterns are intended for decoration at the Botanic Park’s workshop table, whether with a wish, a personal message or artwork, honoring a loved one or just for fun. 



“Everyone has a different reason for wanting to come down and do a lantern,” Hines said.

The event is BYOCPP — Bring Your Own Colored Pens and/or Pencils.

Around 8 p.m., the paper lanterns, each illuminated from the inside, will set sail across Peter’s Pond, casting a collective warm, yellow glow, reflected in the water — a scene, which if the clouds cooperate by not attending the event, will mirror a sky lit by a full moon and stars. 

If you go

What: Glow in the Park
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18
Where: Yampa River Botanic Park
Price: Free to attend; lanterns available for recommended donation of $20 for one, $30 for two, $40 for three, $50 for five

The timing of the full moon is no coincidence, according to Sonia Franzel, Botanic Park board president.

Small solar lights also illuminate the park’s pathways so attendees can see where they’re walking. Music and light refreshments will also be available.

The event makes for a quiet, reflective, magical evening. 

Lanterns float on a pond in Yampa River Botanic Park during the 2018 Glow in the Park event, the Botanic Park’s first evening event in about 20 years. Several visitors wrote memories of loved ones and well wishes on the balsa wood lanterns.
Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

“It’s a beautiful sight to see,” Franzel said.

After the event, park personnel and volunteers will net the lanterns and properly dispose of them, keeping the pond’s plants and animals safe. 

Parking is available at Emerald Park. Those who plan to bike to the event are reminded to use a bike light and headlamp.

Lanterns decorated by attendees float along at the 2018 Glow in the Park event.
courtesy of Sonia Franzel

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.


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