Million Bulb Breakdown: Norfolk Botanical Garden begins taking down famous holiday display

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 09:13:29-05

NORFOLK, Va. - One of the worst parts about putting up Christmas taking them down at the end of the season.

Now, multiply that times a million!

For two months each year, the Dominion Energy Garden of Lights, featuring over a million lights, is a big draw for Norfolk Botanical Garden, which hosts several events including the Million Bulb Walk and Barks and Bulbs.

This week, crews at the garden started the process of taking the lights down, starting with the lights lining walkways. From there, crews take down displays on a priority basis depending on which areas of the garden need to be cleared for upcoming construction or events.

The tear-down takes a total of six weeks, according to Don Brown, Director of Facilities.

Add that to the amount of time it takes to put the lights up and it's nearly twice as long as the time the lights are actually displayed in the garden, but it's not hard to find motivation.

“They love what it takes to put the show up. They love how the people react to the show. A lot of the crew, even if they’re not working, they’ll walk the show and just listen to people comment," said Brown.

Off season, the lights are stored in a 10,000-square-foot shed on the property, separated into bays and labeled by display.

Lights are carefully wrapped and organized so they're easy to find the following year.

"We always come off a show with a sick list. Those displays that need to be re-worked, whether it’s repainted or rewired," said Brown, of damaged displays, many of which are designed in-house.

Brown adds that many of the people who install and tear down the lights have other, year-round jobs at the garden.

For more information about Norfolk Botanical Garden, head to