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‘Indian Summer’ display opens at Bellagio conservatory

It’s summer this fall at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Indian Summer, to be exact.

Painted elephants, a talking tree, seed-covered tigers and thousands of flowers decorate the conservatory for its seasonal display, celebrating India’s culture and traditions.

When early explorers reached what in now North America, they thought they had reached India in the early fall. In writings they said they had found a new world with a warm climate and second harvest. They called it “Indian Summer,” which is the theme of the Bellagio’s autumn display that opened Monday.

Flowing water, 45,000 flowers, pumpkins and animatronics are incorporated into the design.

It features a few distinct snapshots of India and its folklore inspired by designer Ed Libby’s travels to India, according to a news release. It’s a different take on the conservatory’s typical seasonal displays, Libby said in the release.

“We reimagined the usual expectations of the season with colorful additions that celebrate the glamour of fall, adding colors rich in gemstone hues and exploring new themes,” he said.

The centerpiece features a 14-foot-tall fairy with water flowing from her waist and wings of striking yellow, orange and red. The fairy is placed between two Asian elephants, each wearing a blanket made of 20,000 preserved roses and a Hathi Howdah, the covered seat atop the elephant that historically carried a ruler of the era. They blink with painted eyelids and spout water from their trunks.

Golden arches resembling fire lead to the mandap, a 25-foot pavilion traditionally used in Indian weddings, covered in red, orange and yellow carnations.

Massive pumpkins in piles line the aisles and edges of the displays. Bengal tigers 25 feet in length are posed in a garden of roses, birds of paradise and cattails. The tigers are covered in caraway seeds, red and black cargo rice and yellow lentils.

Playful foxes occupy a magical section of the conservatory, sitting on a carpet next to a lamp and in the vision of a talking tree. In its branches sit peacocks with autumnal-colored feathers, and above its branches fly elaborate dragonflies.

It took a staff of 125 to assemble the display, which will remain open around the clock until Nov. 30.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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