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‘Absolutely everywhere:’ Swarms of mosquitoes annoy during China Lights VIP night

HALES CORNERS -- The mosquitoes have been horrible with all the rain we saw in August, and China Lights organizers couldn't do much to keep them away on the first night Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Wednesday was the "Exclusive Preview Night" from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., with the 2018 show getting underway Saturday, Sept. 21 and running through Oct. 21.

Patti Smith and Karen Natarelli came prepared.

"Lots of new displays so far. The colors are magnificent," said Natarelli.

Among the Chinese lantern displays, they definitely noticed the pesky bugs.

"They're in the woods. Ugh -- crazy bugs. My neck, my clothes. I have on thick socks. I don't want to be bit," said Smith.

Unfortunately, their preparations were no match for the mosquitoes.

"Just with the spray, but I'm thinking perhaps that wasn't enough!" said Natarelli.

Shirley Walczak

"They're swarming. They're absolutely everywhere. The rain stopped and the bugs came out," said Smith.

Among the drink options, organizers had bug spray available for visitors.

"The mosquitoes have been a little tough, but they're manageable. Just bring some bug spray, keep moving and we'll pray for a lot of wind," said Shirley Walczak, Boerner Botanical Gardens director.

We found a lot of visitors who tried to come prepared, knowing the mosquitoes would likely be a problem.

Julie Heiner

"I came protected with a box of Snuggle dryer sheets," said Julie Heiner.

Many said they were excited to kick off another year of China Lights.

"It's going to be great, despite the bugs," said Smith.