When: Nov. 14-Jan. 1 2015
Back in October, a holiday villain, whose heart was two sizes too small, tried to steal Christmas by snagging 1,900 feet of power cord from the Holiday Festival of Lights. Despite this grinch’s efforts, the 25th Festival of Lights will turn James Island County Park into a holiday wonderland — and it’s only grown in size from the 18 light displays that it started with. This year at the festival, you can see over 700 displays and two million lights on the three-mile driving tour. You can also park your car for even more festive fun at the Winter Wonderland, which features a sand sculpture made out of 50 tons of sand, treats from Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, and a train that’ll give guests a closer look at the displays. Head to Santa’s Village for pictures with jolly old St. Nick himself, a Victorian-style carousel, and giant greeting cards created by local students. In honor of the festival’s 25th year, there will be some contests, giveaways, and new attractions. Each evening, one car will be randomly selected to receive a special gift valued at $25 or more from one of the festival sponsors. There will also be a cruise sweepstakes; anyone can enter to win a five-night Carnival cruise at the Charleston County Parks website through Dec. 31. “We have a new photo-op area that is actually hilarious,” says Sarah Reynolds, public information coordinator for the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. “You can take a picture in a sleigh and there’s a green screen behind it, so it looks like you’re flying over all of Charleston.” Additionally, there will be a new gift shop, some new lights displays, and on the busiest nights, new compost bins available to collect on-site food waste from Santa’s sweet shoppes. Monday through Thursday, bring a donation for the Lowcountry Food Bank for a $5 discount on admission to the festival.
Price: $15/vehicle of 15 or less, $40/vehicle with 16-30 guests, $100/vehicle with 31 or more guests