2017 in Review: Lessons for an Even Better 2018
2017 was a big year for the Dallas Arboretum, full of lessons that will make 2018 even better. We wanted to share some of the highlights and offer a big thanks for being here to help us along the way.
Powerful Themes Help Our Festivals Be Even More Enjoyable for Guests – and Create Lots of Word-of-Mouth
We kicked off the year with our spring tulip festival, Dallas Blooms, presented by Iberiabank. 500,000 bulbs and our amazing horticulture team make our tulip festival a delight every spring, but the theme this year, “Flower Power,” set the tone for a year of record attendance AND record guest excitement.
We followed this blockbuster up in the fall with our annual pumpkin festival, Autumn at the Arboretum (presented by Rogers O’Brien Construction), boasting 90,000 pumpkins, squash, and gourds. Again, it was the theme, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, expertly executed in Pecan Grove with a Yellow Brick Road, and reflected in events and educational programming all season, which made this year truly special for guests.
We finished the year on a high note with the 12 Days of Christmas and Holiday at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant. We sold out multiple nights of this magical festival because people love the holiday atmosphere of beautiful lights, outdoors, at night. But the theme in DeGolyer House, The Nutcracker Suite, has made this year something special. Every room was decorated to represent a scene from the ballet, and we displayed over 800 nutcrackers.
The pressure is on to define our 2018 festivals with themes that are even more exciting, and we’re eager to share this info with you when the time is right.
High-Quality Food and Culinary Experiences Pair Perfectly with Our Gardens, and Guests Love This Combination
We unveiled A Tasteful Place on October 3. Our newest garden was a first for us and for Dallas on many fronts. This beautiful, 3.5-acre vegetable, fruit and herb display garden features an assortment of seasonal produce, and is inspired by the movement towards growing and eating healthier foods. It also features facilities where guests may enjoy daily tastings, cooking classes, demonstrations and more events throughout the year – a true garden-to-table experience.
The first-ever Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival sold out weeks early, and left guests raving about dishes from the best chefs in the Metroplex while they took in the gardens at the height of spring beauty. We learned a great deal about what it takes to pull off an event of this scale and caliber, and are eager to apply the lessons learned for an even better experience in 2018, integrating A Tasteful Place into this unique experience.
Bringing Art into the Garden Creates a Unique, Captivating Experience, Enhancing the Beauty of Nature and Art
We reimagined Artscape this year, and invited guests to three days of a fine arts and crafts fair, featuring renowned artists creating in a host of beautiful, exciting mediums, plus live music and much more. It brought dozens of artists from the Metroplex and across the United States to the Arboretum during Dallas Arts Month, and created the perfect bridge from our spring festival to Summer at the Arboretum.
This year the Dallas Arboretum made history. ZimSculpt, a world renowned exhibition of modern Zimbabwean hand-carved stone sculptures, joined us in the spring and summer, with pieces displayed throughout the garden. The exhibit featured over 100 large-scale sculptures in addition to a Marketplace with thousands of table-top sized sculptures, and was the largest collection of Zimbabwean stone sculptures ever assembled for a show in the United States.
Guests came in droves to see the beautiful work, ranging in size from several inches to several feet tall and expertly curated and situated within the garden. The two ZimSculpt artists in residence, Passmore and Aron, were also a big hit as they carved new pieces for guests’ custom orders. We have brought art into the garden where appropriate, but the scale of this exhibit and its impact on the garden experience represented a new approach, and based on its ability to draw huge crowds, we are ready to transform the Arboretum with art again in 2018.
Thanks for 2017, Here’s to 2018!
The Dallas Arboretum welcomed its millionth visitor for the year over the Thanksgiving holiday. This is the second year in a row that we have had over a million visitors in the Arboretum, although we crossed the mark weeks earlier this year.
We certainly couldn’t have achieved this without the help of our visitors. We hope to eclipse this year’s attendance again in 2018.We can’t wait to show you all of the exciting things we have in store for 2018!