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Lewis Ginter Faces Backlash for HellFest of Lights Exhibit

GLEN ALLEN, Va. — Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has issued an apology for their new HellFest exhibit, sources confirmed Tuesday.

While they intended for the exhibit to serve as a change of pace from the annual Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights that takes place over the holiday season, it ended up offending many of their upper middle class WASP visitors. 

“We thought it’d be appropriate given that 2020 was such a horrific year,” Cheryl Wheeler, a spokesperson for Lewis Ginter, said in a statement. “But we obviously misread the room. We are now in the process of taking down all of the pits of fire and light displays that depict damned souls being tortured for eternity.” 

“Our display inspired by Dante’s ‘Inferno’ that included demonic creatures and a burning hellscape, all ruled over by Beezlebub himself, wasn’t meant to offend or upset anyone,” Wheeler continued. “We thought converting the conservatories to torture chambers would be a nice effect. But we’ll take down the nightmarish decorations and silence the scream loop immediately.”

Despite the decision to remove the exhibit, some are still angry that it was constructed in the first place. “We came for the lights hoping for a very festive environment,” Rebecca DeKalb, a mother of three from Henrico, said in an interview. “We are a Christian family, and this is supposed to be a family-friendly event. My children should have not seen what they saw. Someone deserves to be fired for this.” 

At press time, it was discovered that several months before attending Lewis Ginter HellFest, DeKalb’s Facebook memories featured photos from her family’s visit to Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt last year. She declined to comment.

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