Saturday evening there was a new event, the Autumn Lights Festival in the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Normally the gardens are only open during the day, but for the first time ever the gardens were specially decorated and lit for nighttime visitors. The event was put on as a benefit for the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, and the funds raised will be used to continue maintaining and improving the gardens.
There was a wide variety of art using LEDs and other light sources, fire demonstrations, and projected images. The most dramatic was the Snail Art Car, which you may have seen at other events around the Bay Area or at Burning Man. There were lots of quieter art installations, too, including carved pumpkins and gourds, tiki lamps, ceramic lanterns, and more. Luminary bags marked the pathways between the gardens, where visitors could take things in as never before. A variety of musicians played music to accompany the lights.
In addition to the art installations, there were plants for sale, food (via some food trucks) and beer & wine for purchase, and a silent auction with artwork and other items. All in all, it was a great event, and hopefully it introduced more people to the beauty available in the gardens at the heart of Oakland. Thanks to all the volunteers and city employees that put this together. I hope this becomes an annual event!