SHERMAN - Area residents looking to see their nearby environment in a new light need look no further than the Night Lights at the Heron.
Now in its sixth year, the annual forest-illuminating, eco-tourist attraction will kick off Friday at Sherman's 200-acre Heron Farm - featuring several weekends boasting a wide variety of bands, authors and artists.
Night Lights at the Heron is held over the course of a 1-mile trail through the night-darkened forest, in which the landscapes are transformed with ever-changing colorful lighting that highlights the various aspects of the plant life and the forest. According to Doug Sitler, creator of Night Lights at the Heron, the event was conceived as a way of allowing people to see the world in a different perspective.
Visitors to the Heron Farm in Sherman take in the sights of an LED-lit landscape during a previous installment of the annual Night Lights at the Heron event.
P-J file photo
P-J file photo
"The trail is a 1-mile walk in the woods at night, and you're walking on a smooth path in the forest in the Heron (grounds)," Sitler said. "The lights and trails and artwork are meant to take our visitors outside the normal realm of everyday life for a little bit, and help them see the world in a different way. We like the idea of giving people a little bit of a sense of escapism."
Sitler said the event has known success in each of its previous incarnations, and that visitors of all ages have come away with a memorable and satisfying experience.
"Our demographic is wide-ranging, from kids to senior citizens," he said. "The kids like it because it's fun, the young adults like it because they can see live music, or it can make for a good date night, and the adults like it for everything else."
A majority of the lighting is LED technology, and is utilized to highlight the natural landscapes of the Heron's lush forests, ponds and trails. In some cases, guests can interact with the lighting, allowing them to create their own imprint on Night Lights. In addition to the annual event held at the Heron grounds, the creators of Night Lights also produce programs at three other venues throughout the year, including: the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in Buffalo, the Nannen Arboretum in Ellicottville and Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto.
A special two-day event - dubbed "Nights of Fire" - will take place on the weekend of Aug. 29-30, during which fire dancers and spinners will be on-site to provide demonstrations and workshops for attendees. For more information on this special weekend, search for "Nights of Fire" on Facebook.
The Night Lights event will be held every Friday and Saturday evening from dusk through 11 p.m. - beginning this Friday, and lasting through Sunday, Oct. 5. It will also be open Sunday, Sept. 1, for Labor Day weekend. Visitors can come one night at a time or the entire weekend. On most Friday nights, Night Lights will feature a house band called Uncle Claud's Band, which plays the music of The Grateful Dead.
Admission is $10 for adults, and $5 for children 7-12 years old. Children 6 and under are free.
The Heron is located at 2361 Wait Corners Road in Sherman. For more information on the Night Lights at the Heron event and its entertainment lineup, visit www.nightlightshq.com.