The light from the full moon meets the light from glowing sculptures to illuminate the dark desert paths. Live music echoes through the landscape. Dancers wielding fire mesmerize the crowd.
Those are just a few typical scenes at the annual Glow! Festival at Oracle’s Triangle L Ranch, which will stretch over the course of four Saturdays, beginning Sept. 22.
Sharon Holnback, who owns the ranch and launched the event 14 years ago, said her initial inspiration struck when she and her metal working collaborator began creating sculptures with light fixtures in them.
“We did everything from small things to commissioned pieces and we always liked putting lights in things,” says Holnback.
In fact, she liked it so much, she invited fellow artists to create light-imbued sculptures that would be placed along a loop trail on the ranch during a party she planned.
Word about the party got out, however, and what was intended to be an intimate get-together with friends drew more than 500 people.
“It really struck a chord with people,” Holnback recalls.
She’s been doing the event annually since, each year getting progressively bigger. It now spreads out over about 10 acres on the ranch. Parking is an issue, so to meet the demand she has expanded the number of days of the festival, but limited each night to 500 guests.
She’s themed each day of the festival, hoping it will inspire costumes: Glowfloresence! (Sept. 22); Steampunk Glow! (Sept. 29); Wild Kingdom Glow! (Oct. 20), and Gloween! (Oct. 27).
Attendees often get into the creative spirit and don illuminated costumes. “We always encourage people to wear a costume that glows,” Holnback says, adding that it makes the attendees part of the show.
Holnback is quick to point out that this is not a one-woman project.
“Hundreds of artists have contributed to the event every year,” she says. “We have a lot of really experienced artists that I’m thankful for.”
There are also more than 100 volunteers from the Oracle area each year, says Holnback.
“It’s a community of people who want to lend their talents to make (the festival) greater than the sum of its parts,” she said.