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The 25th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights opens Nov. 14
10/22/2014 1:40:11 PM


Make spirits bright this year at the 25th anniversary of the beloved Holiday Festival of Lights! With an estimated two million shimmering lights, Charleston’s most popular holiday event returns Nov. 14, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015 to James Island County Park.


More than four million people have toured the Holiday Festival of Lights, which is hosted by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission at the agency’s James Island County Park. The event has received many awards and mentions in publications throughout the country, and the three-mile driving tour delivers more every year. Join us as we kick off the 25th season at the Grand Opening Celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, featuring live entertainment, awards presentations, and fireworks at 9 p.m.!


Much More than a Driving Tour

The Holiday Festival of Lights is much more than just a driving tour! Park the car and experience exciting attractions custom-designed for holiday cheer. There are many celebrated attractions to see and activities to do, including:

·          Marshmallow Roasting       

·          Festival Train Rides                            

·          Lakeside Lights Interactive Activity

·          The Amazing Dancing Light Display

·          Enchanted Walking Trail

·          Old-Fashioned Carousel

·          Unique Gift Shops and the Reindeer Workshop

·          Santa’s Sweet Shoppe

·          The Festival Fun Run on Nov. 12 & 13

·          Special Family Events on select evenings, including photos  with Santa, live music and more (see November events below)!


A Sneak Peek of what’s NEW at this year’s Festival

What’s amazing about one of this year’s new light displays? It was inspired by a young local artist! The winner of the annual children’s Light Display Design Contest for the 25th anniversary is 9-year-old Jenna, a Sullivan’s Island Elementary School student. Jenna submitted a photo of a cute seal pup, which inspired a new light display on site this year. Creative kids are encouraged to pick up an entry form to submit their idea for a new display at next year’s event.


Guests to this year’s festival may win of one of our silver anniversary celebration surprises! One lucky guest each evening of the festival will receive a special gift valued at $25 as they drive through the park gates. Charleston County Parks will also give away a 5-night cruise as part of this year’s celebration. No purchase is necessary for the cruise sweepstakes; all entrants can enter to win at between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.


Also new this year, in an effort to increase environmental stewardship efforts, composting bins will be available on site select nights to collect waste for compost collection.


History of the Light Displays

Light Show Supervisor Rich Raab has created and animated the festival’s light displays on site at James Island County Park since 1990. Current designs range from holiday themes to dinosaurs, trains, space ships, aquatic themes, iconic Charleston imagery and hundreds more. Raab creates each design first on paper then develops his designs into a light sculpture based off his drawing. Today, there are over 700 light displays on site at the Holiday Festival of Lights.

There is so much to see at the festival every night! See our nightly calendar of events below for a list of special events taking place on select nights, and join us in 2014 as we celebrate 25 years of making spirits bright. 
For more information, including event hours and fees, call 843-795-4386 or visit This event is presented by Boeing and Your Charleston County Parks.



November Holiday Festival of Lights Special Events Calendar

Visit for more information.


Nov. 12 & 13: Get a Sneak Peek of the festival at the Fun Run! 6:30 p.m.; advance registration is required.

Nov. 14: Opening Night – Join us for the grand celebration of our 25th anniversary! Live entertainment, fireworks at 9 p.m., and the awards presentation for the winners of the Gingerbread House competition, the Giant Greeting Card contest, and the Light Display Design Contest.  Ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. Ask a Caw Caw Naturalist – Visit with a naturalist from Caw Caw Interpretive Center! Discover what local animals do when temperatures drop and days grow shorter. 6 p.m.

Nov. 17: First night to save $5 on admission when you bring a non-perishable canned food item for donation to the Lowcountry Food Bank. Canned dog or cat food also accepted. Discount offered every Monday through Thursday.

Nov. 20: Performance by Lowcountry Power Brass, 6 – 8 p.m.

Nov. 21: Outdoor Movie Night - Bring a chair and a blanket and kick back to watch a family holiday film! Continuous shows starting at 6 p.m. in Santa’s Village.  Ask a Caw Caw Naturalist, 6 p.m.

Nov. 22: Outdoor Movie Night - Continuous shows starting at 6 p.m. in Santa’s Village.

Nov. 26 - Dec. 23: Santa Claus is at the festival nightly in Santa’s Village! Families as well as dogs are invited to have pictures taken.

Nov. 28: Visit with Mrs. Claus, 5:30 p.m.  Ask a Caw Caw Naturalist, 6 p.m.

Nov. 30: Visit with Mrs. Claus, 5:30 p.m.


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