By Eva Potter

Mark your calendars for Sept. 23 and get ready for a surreal experience when NIGHT LIGHTS returns to Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto. If you missed it last year, don’t get left in the dark — you’ll have 13 evenings to light up your night.

NIGHT LIGHTS is an illumination installation and light show, complete with dramatic theatrics, interactive creative lighting and sound, that allows visitors to explore and experience Griffis Sculpture Park and its unusual, mammoth sculptures in a very unique way.

“This is our third year of setting up lights at the sculpture park and we are looking forward to creating new lighted landscapes and interactions with the sculptures,” said Doug Sitler, of SitlerHQ LLC, which has been putting on NIGHT LIGHTS since 2009.

The park’s trails at 6902 Mill Valley Rd., East Otto, will open each night at 7:30 p.m. so guests can explore a surrealistic collision of magical illumination with the artful intertwining of sculpture and nature.

“What I love seeing are so many first-time visitors to the sculpture park because of NIGHT LIGHTS. People also love the sculpture park and are always looking for new ways to experience the place,” said Sitler. “So I’m glad by us lighting up some trees and sculptures, it’s bringing some well-deserved attention to this amazing park.”

New and improved lighting, along with the addition of two sound systems that add soundscapes to the already hypnotic landscape, will enhance your visit, whether it’s your first time or you just had to come back for another visit.

“The lights take about a week to set up,” Sitler explained. “We use more than a mile of powerlines and cords to bring electric throughout the lower portion of the park.”

The self-guided tour is great for people of all ages, but be sure to wear appropriate shoes to walk on the uneven, somewhat hilly ground. Guests are also encouraged to bring flashlights for a few darker sections of the trail.

NIGHT LIGHTS shows have wowed crowds and attracted every demographic, especially families. They even have “groupies” who follow the shows around the region.

To make it convenient, this spectacular light show will run three weekends: Sept. 23–26, Sept. 30–Oct. 3 and Oct. 7–Oct. 12.

The trails will open at 7:30 p.m. and close at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and will open at 7 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. on weekends. Tickets for adults are $10, $5 for children ages 7–12 and free for children ages 6 and under.

Please note that NIGHT LIGHTS may be canceled due to heavy rain. Check, and NIGHT LIGHTS HQ and Griffis Sculpture Park Facebook pages for updates.

Can’t make it for NIGHT LIGHTS? Then visit Griffis, the largest sculpture park in the U.S., during the daytime to marvel at more than 250 sculptures dotting the 300-acre sculpture park, many in unusual and interesting places.

The park is owned and operated by the Ashford Hollow Foundation, which also owns the Essex Arts Center in Buffalo, NY.