Shining a light on all your questions about the popular Nights of a Thousand Candles

7 Dec

Shining a light on all your questions about the popular Nights of a Thousand Candles

The 24th year of Nights of a Thousand Candles, the wildly popular celebration of the holiday season at Brookgreen Gardens, is off to a rousing start. 

People are traveling from across the nation to visit South Carolina’s Hammock Coast and Nights of a Thousand Candles, marveling about the beauty of the event and the way Brookgreen comes to life each evening. 

Travel+Leisure magazine named NOTC the “Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina,” and the 22-night event attracted more than 86,000 people in 2022, highlighting its appeal. 

In addition to enjoying one of the South’s greatest holiday traditions, anyone lucky enough to attend NOTC typically comes away with a lot of questions. How many candles are used each evening and overall? How many lights are needed to illuminate Oak Alle? How long does it take to prepare for the event? 

The list could go on, but we are here to help answer your questions, with an assist from the Brookgreen staff, of course. Here is your behind the scenes look at Nights of a Thousand Candles. 

Brookgreen Gardens is bathed in shimmering lights during Nights of a Thousand Candles. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

• The first NOTC was in 1999 and was called the Luminaria Celebration; a little over 1,300 guests attended.

• The Brookgreen staff lights 3,000 candles each evening – and blows them out too!

• They use candle snuffers to help blow out candles and prevent wax from getting on the hurricane glasses during the process.

• Nearly 24,000 candles in total are used during the event.

• There are 530 pounds of cranberries in the Brown Sculpture Court.

  It takes more than 7 miles of extension cords to help light the event.

• There are over 180,000 lights on 18,000 strands in Oak Allee.

• Brookgreen’s pools have more than 500 floating candles.

• A staff of 12 works from September – February to install and de-install NOTC.

• Each evening, it takes 100 employees and volunteers to staff the event.

• Brookgreen’s horticulture team grew 750 poinsettias in their greenhouse for display during NOTC.

• With so many candle lighters, it only takes about 30 minutes to light all the candles.

Nights of a Thousand Candles earned a third-place ranking in a national contest as Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights event in 2021. (Photo by Mark A. Stevens/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Each year, it takes months — and a dedicated group of staff and volunteers — to make Brookgreen come alive with its dizzying display of lights. Read more about how it all happens by clicking here.

Keep in mind, tickets to NOTC must be purchased in advance. Below are the remaining dates for 2023, as of the date of this publication:

Thu, Dec. 7, 4 – 9pm

Fri, Dec. 8, 4 – 9pm

Sat, Dec. 9, 4 – 9pm

Sun, Dec. 10, 4 – 9pm

Wed, Dec. 13, 4 – 9pm

Thu, Dec. 14, 4 – 9pm

Fri, Dec. 15, 4 – 9pm

Sat, Dec. 16, 4 – 9pm

Sun, Dec. 17, 4 – 9pm

Wed, Dec. 27, 4 – 9pm

Thu, Dec. 28, 4 – 9pm

Fri, Dec. 29, 4 – 9pm

Sat, Dec. 30, 4 – 9pm

Sun, Dec. 31, 4 – 9pm 

To buy tickets, click here.

Brookgreen Gardens is located in Murrells Inlet, an iconic community of the Hammock Coast. It’s located across Ocean Highway from Huntington Beach State Park.

Located between Charleston to the south and Myrtle Beach to the north, the Hammock Coast® features the best the Palmetto State has to offer, providing vacationers with pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches, 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.

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

(Top photo by Austin Bond/Courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens.)

— By Chris King for 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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