Talon News - Good Local News

EVENING OF LIGHTS AT AZTEC RUINS

 

December 14, 2018

LUMINARIAS ALONG THE WALL AND PARKING LOT OF THE RUINS' VISITOR CENTER.

Photos and story by Pilar Owens, TALON

Warmth and light are attractive on a cold night. The Evening of Lights at Aztec Ruins attracted over 1000 people according to staff and volunteer estimates. Many of the visitors gathered in a white tent (which smelled like chocolate) in the Ruins picnic area. Their breath fogged the windows. They ate cookies and drank hot coco provided by Friends of the Aztec Ruins. Children waited in line to sit with Santa, and many people stopped at the Junior Ranger area to make holiday crafts.

Outside, Aztec High School JROTC cadets helped drivers find parking. "They're a great partner for us," Ranger Nathan Hatfield said of the cadets, in a recent phone interview. He said the cadets volunteer at the event every year. This year, Ruins staff and volunteers placed 500 luminarias and between 300 and 400 LED lights around the ruins. Lights inside the ruins were reminiscent of fire glow. Some visitors took pictures of the lit ruins with the velvet night sky in the background.

Inside the Visitor Center theater, several films made by volunteers at Chaco Canyon featured their night time photography work. Meanwhile, cultural demonstrators showed their pottery and jewelry and talked with visitors.

Back outside, despite blue LED lights strategically placed along both sides of the tour paths, the night was starkly dark. One path led to the top of a hill with a three walled kiva ringed by blue lights. A ranger stood their giving information to visitors. She pointed out the Big Dipper and Orion. The milky way glittered overhead. "Pretty night," commented the ranger.

 

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