Happy Holidays from Hilton Head Island!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Hilton Head Island! With snow bubble flurries in the air and Christmas music constantly playing in local shops, there’s no escaping the holiday spirit. Being completely obsessed with Christmas, I decided to take the Spinnaker Resorts’ Holiday Light tour from Bluewater Resort and Marina to further experience Hilton Head Island during the holidays.
Posideon Resturant and Bar’s front doors decorated for the event
On the journey from Bluewater to Shelter Cove Towne Centre, our tour guide, Michael, shared the history of the Dove Street Festival of Lights and how it became known as “The most tastefully tacky light display in the Southeast”. For over 20 years, the founders of the light festival displayed their lights on Dove Street near Coligny Beach. The event became so grand that the residents of Dove Street agreed their neighborhood was too small to accommodate all the visitors coming to the light festival. A larger venue was needed so the light festival was moved to the Shelter Cove Towne Centre just a few years ago. Now visitors from near and far come to experience the magic of the tastefully tacky Hilton Head Island Christmas lights display. Michael also added that tonight was a very special night: the official tree lighting ceremony. Normally the tour goes to multiple light displays on the island, but everyone in our van voted to only see the tree lighting ceremony that night.
The Shelter Cove Community Park Christmas Tree
We pulled up to the entrance of the Festival of Lights and unloaded one by one. It was just getting dark and all the lights on the main street were off. We gathered around a podium to hear speakers welcome in the holidays and introduce Santa Claus. As the third speaker finished his closing remarks, he began the countdown. Little kids around began to squeal with excitement as he counted down 3…2…1…
Mr. Wayne Johnson counting down for the Light Festival
Santa Claus riding into Shelter Cove in style!
All 300,000 lights turned on! I was left blinded for a second before I could fully appreciate the beauty of each colored light. The lights danced across the shops in the Towne Centre. They changed colors and moved with the holiday music in the background. As I continued down the street, I was greeted by falling snow (bubbles), exuberant lights and one of the tallest Christmas trees I have ever seen.
Lights dancing across the sky
“Tastefully Tacky” light decorations
At the end of the street, the Christmas tree stood overlooking the park and the river. The park was filled with families taking photos with the Christmas tree and the beautifully decorated palm trees. A new addition to the light festival was the Ice Skating Rink, donated by the Island Recreation Center.
The Shelter Cove Community Park Christmas tree
Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue Wreath
Presented by Kroger and the merchants of Shelter Cove Towne Centre, the Dove Street Festival of Lights will run until December 31st and is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly. Volunteers representing the Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund for Hurricane Matthew, Programs for Exceptional People and the Island Rec Center will be accepting donations on site. Throughout the years the Dove Street Festival of Lights has raised over $120,000 in cash for local non-profits, more than 40,000 cans of food for needy families as well as 20,000 presents for kids. The light festival has even been featured in USA Today. Shelter Cove Towne Center is the perfect place to enjoy nightly entertainment, shopping, dining and experience a Lowcountry Christmas!
To see a live video of the lights, please visit our Facebook Page.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and to all a goodnight!