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Local Artists Illuminate Lake Merritt Gardens in Immersive Autumn Lights Festival

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Autumn Lights Festival display at The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif. (Courtesy of The Gardens at Lake Merritt)

For a 10th year, The Gardens at Lake Merritt will transform into an outdoor immersive gallery of art and light. This year’s Autumn Lights Festival welcomes the public back to experience the beauty in person.

People are invited to take an illuminated stroll through 7 acres of municipal gardens made even more magical with 60 locally-created art installations lit up under the starry sky. Several artists this year used their talents to explore the ups and downs, highs and lows of life during the pandemic, giving people the opportunity to take their own emotional and sensory journey that just might feel a little healing in the end.   

While the event is not free, paying the price of admission is a little less painful knowing that the fundraiser benefits the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, a nonprofit group of volunteers dedicated to revitalizing the gardens and educating the public about things like pollination, native plants and water preservation.

Autumn Lights Festival display at The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif. (Courtesy of The Gardens at Lake Merritt)

Event organizers have set up everything you need for a perfect date, friend adventure or family night out with live entertainment, an art market, food trucks and adult gardens serving up beer and wine. The event runs each night from Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Since the early bird deadline has already passed, tickets will run $25 per adult and $10 for youth ages 6 to 17. Children aged 5 and under get in for free. Tickets can be purchased here

The event will respect all COVID-19 safety protocols. Attendees and festival workers of all ages are required to show proof of vaccination or negative test results, and the capacity limit has been reduced from prior years to allow for social distancing. Everyone aged 2 years and older will need to wear a mask unless eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the festival. 

The Gardens at Lake Merritt are located at 666 Bellevue Avenue in Oakland. More information about the Autumn Lights Festival and the organization can be found here

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.