The 32nd Annual Holiday Festival of Lights officially opens for 2021


JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island is officially open which means the holiday season has begun in the Lowcountry.

Sarah Reynolds with the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission said this year patrons can get out of their vehicles if they wish to, and many aspects will resemble pre-pandemic festivals.

Sarah Reynolds said, last year she believed a lot of people missed the opportunity to be able to park the car and get out to walk around at the Festival of Lights. While she was happy it was able to go on and be a vital part of many’s holiday traditions, it is a different experience to get out and see the light displays up close. 

Some of the displays got even brighter for 2021 along the 750 display, three-mile driving tour. Reynolds said they refurbished a lot of their displays over the year with LED lighting, so they would be brighter. One of the updated scenes was the Cooper River and Ravenel Bridge on the lake, which is a big favorite of many. 

Other favorites that made a come back this year were the Winter Wonderland which was comprised of marshmallow roasting, gift shops, the festival train, a climbing wall, a holiday sandcastle, a carousel among Santa’s Workshop

According to Reynolds, Santa Claus will make his way down from the Norton Pole on November 19th, but to see him parents will need to join a virtual queue in an effort to cut down on lines.

You will go and check-in with one of our elves, they will put you in our virtual que and that way you can walk around and enjoy some festival amenities while you are waiting to see Santa instead of standing there amongst other people who are waiting. 

Sarah Reynolds, Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission 

Guests are encouraged to wear a mask while indoors.

To create a great visitor experience and to help manage wait times and traffic, Holiday Festival of Lights organizers have identified “regular” nights and “peak” nights. Ticket prices during “peak” nights will be higher. New this year as well, visitors can save by buying their ticket in advance online. Regular night pricing will be $15 per vehicle if purchased online, or $20 at the gate. Peak night pricing will be $25 per vehicle if purchased online, or $30 at the gate, dates are identified on their calendar.

The lights will be open every day from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. until they close December 31st.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

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