Starfire Follies Act II

Lights, lights and MORE lights! 2020 brought out the stars. 2021? Shine the lights on those stars!

  • $4,115

    pledged of $3,230

    • 29


    • 0


This project received pledges on Thu 30 Dec 2021

A short summary of our Goal

*New! The Director's challenge

For every gift given, two $10 matches will be made by McCrory's present director and its previous one. That's an extra $20 dollars for every one gift, regardless of size! 


McCrory Gardens is raising $3230 to add to our production (holiday lights display) of Garden Glow. "Starfire Follies, Act II" will be performed nightly on a limited run: December 4, 2021 - January 6, 2022.

  • Emanating style and grace, stars (holographic spheres) appear effortlessly on their stages (trees). Set as "theatre in the round", all patrons will have the best view in the house to watch the parading lights sparkle and shimmer. The 2021 addition to the Follies is focused on Parabolic Anodized Reflectors  Many halogen spot and flood lights use a parabolic (U-shaped) reflector to collect and reflect the light out the front of the bulb.  

Our stars are very much like human stage actors - they LOVE THEIR TIME in the spotlight.

You can see from the photo, their stage needs some brightening up! (photo taken from 2020 Starfire Follies display)

GARDEN GLOW.  There is nothing else like it in our cozy community of Brookings or surrounding area.  We're in need of your help to fund the show. To #GrowtheGlow21. 

Read on to find out why and how!

our Back story.

McCrory Gardens is a botanical garden and arboretum, located in Brookings, SD on the campus of South Dakota State University. In 1965, this 70 acre horticulturally intriguing sanctuary for the soul was established.  Visitors from near and far come to the Gardens for as many reasons as there are locations from where they hale.

the venue.                                                        

You know you have found the site of GARDEN GLOW when you see our logo - a very large, very green, Linden leaf. McCrory Gardens and SD State Arboretum, 631 22nd Avenue, Brookings, SD  57006.  

in the beginning.

GARDEN GLOW humbly began in 2015 by displaying eleven fresh evergreen trees on the Terrace Lawn. Sponsorships of $250 per tree were gathered, and the Enchanted Forest was born. The tradition lives on and it's clearly the foundation of a beloved event for both campus and community. 

more than just twinkling lights.

Garden Glow is more than holiday lights. It's a compilation of emotions that are experienced through all of your senses. It's for an audience of all ages. As an entirely outdoor display across three acres of the Gardens, the ability to enjoy time with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, fellow church-goers, and even a first date, can be managed quite safely.

As the years pass, the popularity of Garden Glow grows by the power of people.

  • The attendance to Garden Glow continues to double each year. (More than 11,000 people experienced GG'20!)
  • The number of supporters of Garden Glow raises in terms of donors, the dollars given, and their voices- inviting others to come and enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience.
  • The quantity of staff & volunteer hours put into the entire production has increased, but there's always room for more.  A dream come true would be having the capacity to fund a full-time position for Garden Glow.

When you have the time, please take a moment to read this theatrical take on the "cast and crew" of McCrory Gardens, responsible for our 2021 Garden Glow "show". The names of the people, as well as their positions at McCrory, are true. Their "theatrical works" are actually references to their families and loved ones.  We wouldn't be able to perform without their support!

the team.


Mr. Schlenker is an original member of the Garden Glow development team (2015). As builder and buyer for the production, Chris knows a lot about exterior illumination. His "day job" is the Horticulture and Grounds Manager of McCrory Gardens. You may know Chris from some of his more personal works: "Norgaard, Abbey", "My Willow, My Heart", and most recently "Jasper in June".


Ms. Krogstad joined the Garden Glow development team in 2018. In her role at the Gardens as Crew Leader and Digital Media Manager, Miranda adds valuable attributes such as creativity, flexibility, and tenacity. (And she knows where all of the breaker boxes are and how to repair un-lit lights!) An improvisational series, "My Name's not Miriam" has hit the local scene with wildly grand reviews.  Miranda is adding to her repertoire, a cheeky Brit inspired saga, "Life with Gus".


Ms. Knofczynski has been a long-time member of the McCrory Gardens cast of characters.  After spending 5 summers as a budding Horticulturist,  Amy has since served as an understudy for the Curator.  She's now preparing to audition for the role as a permanent gig.  Appearing as the silent, happy-to-be-in-the-wings type, it's rather surprising that Knofczynski has engineered a very edgy drama titled, "Writtled". 


Mr. Russell has been at McCrory Gardens since March as a Grounds Keeper.  During this brief time, Connor, aka "Joseph", has learned many roles, able to swing into action at any given moment.  This multi-talented young man will be sighted at Garden Glow making certain the stars are ready for the show, hot chocolate is well supplied & the runways are clear for walking.  Although on the fence about its release, "Connor & Tia - the Journey", will soon be seen by thousands of adoring fans.


It's not uncommon for people to wear multiple hats, literally and figuratively, in a small company such as ours. Ms. Puetz became rooted into the Garden Glow production team in 2019. Lori sustains the Education & Visitor Center as the Venue Sales and Services Coordinator. Her side gig productions include "I Once Was a Campus Tech Guy", "To Catch a Derecho", and "The Tree Whisperer".


Ms. Mitchell joined the McCrory team by working the Box Office most every night of Garden Glow 2020.  After graduation from South Dakota State University in May 2021, Kelly now serves in the Public Relations department.  In collaboration with fellow funny women Kelli, Mia, Julia and Landry, their new sitcom, "I'm Confused", is certain to delight all audiences with their antics.

Bill, Sydney and Dana

A traditional team of production assistants (PAs) have meticulous attention to details. This trio helps to make sure that every light bulb is tested, every branch of garland is fluffed, and every board-and-chicken-wire structure is reinforced to withstand a month of South Dakota winds. Without a doubt, these PAs are MVPs.


Ms. Marotz joined the Garden Glow development team as an understudy in 2016.  Serving as the Director of Operations, she's accustomed to broadcasting the story of McCrory to any and all who will listen.  Marotz has played a few various roles during her liftetime.  She's most proud to be included in such works as "Hello Birdie, Bye-Bye Heart", "How Dry is My Humor", "Don't Stop Retrieving - a Vet School Musical", and "Em & M - A Royal Engagement". 

How Has the 'Glow been made possible over time?

The fun and success of our very first Rabbit Raiser in 2018 brought crystal reindeer to Reindeer Meadow.  With the momentum of enthusiastic contributors, not only did we get reindeer, we were able to purchase trees, shooting stars, starbursts and hundreds of feet of lights!

Rabbit Raiser 2019 gave Mrs. Claus a place to call her own in the Gardens.  Mrs. C's Retreat has become the #1 spot within Garden Glow for "popping the question".  

You'll have to come & see what we've added to her garden sanctuary THIS year.  Let's just say she's become a big fan of love-themed holiday films.

Rabbit Raiser 2020 was the beginning of Starfire Follies.  Twenty-nine donors contributed above and beyond our initial goal. 10 Scotch Pine trees to serve as the stages, 120 clear holographical spheres = the "acts" that hold the 2,880 stars (lights).  The linked video is one expressing our thanks while letting you see the rarely shown, behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

This brings us today.  Rabbit Raiser 2021. 

Without a doubt, the investment is one to ooh and ahh over. BIG lights. BIG impact. If Clark could have had these in his possession, he would have needed near as many strings of lights to set his home aglow! By reaching our goal of $3230, we'll have a dozen LARGE PAR beauties. Along with all of the power, cables, connectors, cords, stands and remotes.


Follow us to find out how we're doing.

Help us succeed!

  • You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us.  On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over Zoom or at the next club meeting you attend.  In fact, share it with everyone you know.  We think it's a BRIGHT idea!  The more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out BRILLIANTLY.
  • Click anywhere you see the words GARDEN GLOW to get to all of the details you need to know about this one-of-a-kind, most enchanting outing for you and yours to enjoy together.
  • And we know we said you don't need to give money to help us, but we'd love it if you did! Please sponsor us and help make this happen. 

Choose reward

Pledge $1 or more

Select this reward if you just want to donate to the project without receiving a reward.

15 claimed

Pledge $25 or more

Level 1: STAGE HAND. An on the move but rarely seen unit of any production. The show of Starfire Follies, Act II would NOT go on without such things as extension cords, specialty power packs and timers. Giving at THE STAGE HAND level would afford us the ability to invest in these essentials.

4 claimed

Pledge $45 or more

Level 2: TECH CREW. Perhaps the most stressful and exciting part of a production. When it comes to Starfire Follies Act II, tech is life and movement. High powered controllers with digital readout, specialty cables of varying lengths, as well as 3-way and 7-way splitters. Would you like to be a part of the TECH CREW level? Your gift will help us mesmerize the masses!

3 claimed

Pledge $65 or more

Level 3: ENSEMBLE. Members of the ensemble are called upon to sing, dance, and play smaller roles. Brighter energy saving LED lights replace incandescents, projectors provide playful lights, and the addition of ground level up-lighting will bring a nuance of old Hollywood. Giving at the ENSEMBLE level will help to brilliantly transform this outdoor garden stage.

0 claimed

Pledge $85 or more

Level 4: UNDERSTUDY. In this role, one is responsible for learning the part of the lead actors to be able to perform as a replacement at short notice. At Garden Glow, we need the structure an understudy provides to the overall success of a show. Steel sign posts, yards of lumber & PVC pipe, chicken wire, and hundreds of zip ties are a must! Giving at the UNDERSTUDY level demonstrates your appreciation for the importance of a strong framework.

2 claimed

Pledge $125 or more

Level 5: LEAD ACTOR. A lead actor is at the center of the story and propels the storyline of the show forward. In this particular scene, YOU will be the lead actor and producer, funding one of 12 BIG LED PARs for Starfire Follies Act II. The philanthropist in you doesn't mind sharing the limelight as it will take 12 gifts at the LEAD ACTOR level to fully fund the incredible showpieces of Starfire Follies Act II.

5 claimed