JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (NCC News) — The Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is now open for its 31st year and is a holiday staple for Charleston area residents like Brittany Kemmerlin.
“So my family has been going to the Charleston Holiday Festival of Lights for probably about 26 or 27 years,” Kemmerlin said. “It’s a family tradition and I hope to be able to take my 3-year-old and my newborn this year as well if we can make it.”
Traditionally, the festival includes activities like a gift shop, concession stands and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Sarah Reynolds, the public information coordinator for the park, says guests can expect a bit of a different experience this year.
“This year’s Holiday Festival of Lights is going to be a drive-through tour only,” Reynolds said. “Because of COVID-19 prevention measures, we’ve had to close down some of the out-of-the-car experiences this year – so our Santa’s village and winter wonderland areas will not be available this year.”
In order to make up for the loss of some of the festival’s activities, the park is implementing a new and improved radio experience. Additionally, the festival will include a drive-thru concession stand for guests to purchase items. The festival is also offering tickets to be purchased online to decrease the guest’s interaction with the staff at the event. Regardless of all of these changes, guests are still looking forward to a bright event in what has been a dark year for many.
“We’re still excited about going,” Kemmerlin said. “We’re not going to let COVID stop our family tradition. Even though we’re not going to be able to get out and walk around – we’re still going to be able to see all of the light displays.”
The festival runs until Dec. 31st and is open nightly, rain or shine, from 5:30 until 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 per vehicle and can be purchased at the main gate of the park or in advance at holidayfestivaloflights.com.