News

December 2022 Holiday Festival

Join us for this FREE and FESTIVE event at Yerkes Observatory. 

Visitors who would like to watch the artists constructing the Glass Tree and enjoy the festival booths must park at Williams Bay School using the Geneva Street entrance. A trolley will run a continuous shuttle between the school and observatory during festival hours. Our guarded gate is reserved for trolley shuttles and visitors who reserve Yerkes tour tickets. Tour ticket holders are also welcome to ride the trolley. On-site parking at Yerkes is available only to tour ticket holders. For tour information or to reserve tickets, CLICK HERE.

Witness The World’s Tallest Glass Tree Live at Yerkes Observatory in December 2022 and Beyond!
Home of the World’s Largest Refracting Telescope Welcomes the World’s Tallest Glass Tree

WILLIAMS BAY, WI– (Nov. 1, 2022) Rob Elliott and glass artist Jason Mack are building the World’s Tallest Glass Tree at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI throughout three thrilling weekends in December 2022.

Elliott and Mack, Midwest natives and childhood friends, will construct 2022’s Glass Tree in front of the legendary Yerkes Observatory at 373 W. Geneva St. in historic Williams Bay.

The Tree is crafted using recycled glass bottles donated by the community, crushed, and melted in a mobile furnace to the consistency of honey. Artists will wrap the liquid glass around a 31-foot tall spinning steel structure until it is covered entirely in glass. On the event’s final night, a four-and-a-half-foot tall hand-blown star tops off the Tree for a total height of 35-and-a-half feet.

Free to the public, the World’s Tallest Glass Tree promotes lifelong family memories, inspiring children and adults alike.

This festive, creative celebration of the holiday season takes place over three weekends (Fridays through Sundays), Dec. 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18. At sundown on Sunday, Dec. 18, topping the Tree with a four-and-a-half-foot tall blown glass star completes the installation.

To help “grow” the Tree, Elliott and Mack invite everyone in attendance to donate glass. A collection bin will be available on-site to accept and sort community-donated clear and green bottles, jars, and vases. No window glass, please.

“We’ll gather the glass bottles and jars donated to us, break them up, and shovel them into the furnace. The labels, caps, spaghetti sauce, baby food, or whatever remains of the contents on or in the glass gets burned away, and out comes a crystal-like substance,” said Mack. “The community helps build the sculpture and becomes a part of the project. That’s what makes the Tree event so exciting; we all establish it together.”

Visitors will enjoy live demonstrations of glass-blowing, woodworking, and steel sculpting and can shop at an attached Winter Maker Market with local handmade wares and fine art purveyors. This year’s event also features special guest, Netflix star and renowned sculptor Rae Ripple, in collaborative demos with Jason Mack and his glass-blowing team. Throughout the weekend, onlookers can
expect many live exhibitions showcasing a variety of innovative mediums.

The Winter Maker Market will offer handmade goods, fine art sculptures, and Mack’s one-of-a-kind hand-blown trees and ornaments. Mack’s pieces are also available for purchase online at mackglass.com. Yerkes Observatory will conduct its Space & Spaces Tours inside the Observatory in accordance with the festival schedule. These tours focus on the Observatory’s extensive restoration, historic architecture, and the astronomy stories of Yerkes, with an opportunity to see the world’s largest refracting telescope. For ticket prices, tour times, and reservations, visit yerkesobservatory.org.

Jason Mack, an Illinois State University graduate, has been creating hand-blown glass and other types of glass projects since 2000. From 2008-2010, he and Elliott built community glass Christmas trees and sculptures in Bloomington, IL. In 2020 and 2021, Mack made community Glass Christmas Trees in Champaign, IL. He currently lives and works in Champaign, developing his portfolio and
teaching classes through Parkland Community College.

Rob Elliott, a graduate of Illinois State University, is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist who resides between Williams Bay and Milwaukee with his family. Rob’s high-energy and creative approach creates successful events and unique, custom projects.

For more information about Jason Mack’s work, you can find him on Facebook at Mack Glass, Instagram @WorldsTallestGlassTree, email him at jason@mackglass.com or visit mackglass.com.

For more information about Rob Elliott’s work, you can find him on Facebook at Rob Elliott, Instagram @RobertTElliott1, email him at Rob@theblankcanvasproject.com or visit theblankcanvasproject.com. For more information about Yerkes Observatory, you can find them on Facebook at Yerkes Observatory, Instagram @yerkescosmos, or visit them online at yerkesobservatory.org.

For information about all of the amazing Holiday Events happening in the Lake Geneva Area this winter visit visitlakegeneva.com

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