Nights of a Thousand Candles shining in national contest

16 Nov

Nights of a Thousand Candles shining in national contest

Brookgreen Gardens’ Nights of a Thousand Candles is in the running again as one of 20 finalists for the 2022 USA Today/10 Best “Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights” contest.

The winner of the contest will be determined by an online vote that runs through noon on Dec. 5. People can vote daily by clicking here. The top 10 finishers will be announced Dec. 16 on 10Best.

Giant live oaks and more are wrapped in thousands of twinkling lights throughout Brookgreen Gardens during Nights of a Thousand Candles. (Photo courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens)

While the competition is strong, Brookgreen Gardens‘ Nights of a Thousand Candles’ nomination is not exactly a surprise. The event, open to the public for 20 nights, from 4 to 9 p.m., in November, December and January, is one of the most popular events on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®. Tickets must be purchased in advance. You can do that here.

In the 10Best contest, Nights of a Thousand Candles is competing against holiday light shows from 17 different states, ranging from New York City to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This is not the first time Nights of a Thousand Candles has been in the running for the coveted award. In 2018, Murrells Inlet-based Brookgreen finished in 10th place. In 2019, Brookgreen broke the Top 5, finishing at No. 4. And last year, in 2021, it placed third in the contest.

“We are excited to be nominated again and appreciate everyone who has voted for us,” said Page Kiniry, Brookgreen Gardens’ president and CEO. “The staff and volunteers take a great deal of pride in this recognition.”

With holiday music playing and live performances nightly, Brookgreen comes to life under the glow of more than 2,800 hand-lit candles and countless twinkling lights throughout several acres. Guests enjoy a serene evening at one of America’s best public gardens while enjoying warm cider or hot cocoa and spending time with family and friends.

“This year, we are hoping to get Brookgreen Gardens and Nights of a Thousand Candles to No. 1,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®. “It’s just not Christmas without a visit to Brookgreen Gardens and finding yourself immersed among thousands upon thousands twinkling lights. Locals and visitors to Georgetown County all love this annual event.”

Each year, it takes weeks — and a dedicated group of staff and volunteers — to make Brookgreen come alive with a dizzying display of lights.

Local photographer Austin Bond snapped this beautiful shot of lit candles in floating orbs on the water during a previous Nights of a Thousands Candles. (Photo courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens)

Brookgreen Gardens is celebrating its 91st anniversary this year. Founded in 1931 by Anna Hyatt Huntington and Archer Huntington, Brookgreen is home to  the  largest  and  most  significant  collection  of  American  figurative  sculpture  in  the  country and is a leader in sculpture conservation, environmental conservation, and the protection of the plants, animals, and history of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Located between Charleston to the south and Myrtle Beach to the north, the Hammock Coast® features the best Palmetto State has to offer, providing vacationers stunning natural beauty and abundant eco-activities. The beach communities of Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, and southern Garden City and the historic towns of Georgetown and Andrews make up the Hammock Coast and collectively deliver an unforgettable vacation experience.

Again, place your vote for Nights of Thousand Candles by clicking here.

For more information on Georgetown and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®, visit

By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®

The stunning sculptures found throughout Brookgreen Gardens are highlighted even more spectacularly during Nights of a Thousand Candles. (Photo courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens)

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