MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — It’s that time of year again, when Brookgreen Gardens comes alive for the annual “Nights of a Thousand Candles” show.
11 staff members, alongside seasonal hires, have been working 10-hour shifts since Labor Day. That continues until gates open for Nights of a Thousand Candles.
“As the days go on, you start to see it light up more and more,” Janet Coen said. “I personally go ‘wow, this looks great, I love it.'”
The show includes millions of lights, and of course, plenty of candles.
“We light over 3,000 candles every night, and each of those candles get switched out every day,” Coen said.
Coen thinks that’s what sets their show apart.
“That sets us apart from other light shows,” she said. “They have a lot of animation and a lot of lights, but there aren’t too many that can say everyday, they light 3,000 candles.”
Coen says that dedication is what brings people back.
“We have been doing this since 1999 and people come to see the traditional things they love like Oak Alley, they love to go out to the Diana Pool,” she said.
The vice president of marketing at Brookgreen Gardens, Lauren Joseph, said the show brings people to the Lowcountry from all over the world.
“Last year we did a zip code study and we had people from every state in the union, including Alaska,” Joseph said. “Nobody from Hawaii, but [we did have] three foreign countries.”
It’s the one time of year where you can experience the gardens at night and glowing, as well as hear all the sounds of nature.
But Joseph says it’s not just about the lights.
“It’s a whole kind of festival atmosphere,” she said.
The show has live music, food trucks and art exhibits. The shows go Wednesday through Sunday starting the day after Thanksgiving up until New Year’s Eve.
More than 80,000 people attended last year, and Brookgreen Gardens is prepping for just as many to enter the gates and experience the event Joseph calls “a magical night.”
Tickets went on sale during the summer and they have been going fast. As of Thursday morning, they are completely sold out except for New Year’s Eve.
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Adriana Cotero is News13’s weekend evening anchor and a morning reporter. She joined the team in July 2023 after working in the island of Guam. Adriana is from Saline, Michigan, and graduated from Central Michigan University. Follow Adriana on Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram and read more of her work here.