Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens

The 20th annual Nights of a Thousand Candles festival begins with an exclusive preview benefit on Nov. 30 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

The numbers tell the story of Brookgreen Gardens’ Nights of a Thousand Candles, which is in its 20th year.

More than 2,400 candles are lit each night. Almost 30,000 candles are used during the event. There are 350 pounds of cranberries in the Brown Sculpture Court. More than five miles of extension cords are used.

Twelve staff members work full time on Nights of a Thousand Candles from September through February, and each evening of the event, between 130 and 150 staff members and volunteers work at Nights of a Thousand Candles.

The 80-foot Brookgreen tree is taller than the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The first Nights of a Thousand Candles, two nights in 1999, was called Luminaria Celebration and it drew a little more than 500 people. Last year, almost 54,000 guests attended.

There are marriage proposals every year during the event, and marketing director Lauren Joseph said during one recent year’s event, there were 25.

This year, the event is Thursday, Dec. 5 – Sunday, Dec. 8; Thursday, Dec. 12 - Sunday, Dec. 15; and Thursday, Dec. 19 - Saturday, Dec. 21 from 3-10 p.m.

Tickets, which are not refundable, must be purchased online at before the day you attend.

In the event of inclement weather, tickets may be exchanged for another night, based on availability, by calling 1-844-271-3410. The deadline to request an exchange is 3 p.m. on the day before the date of the ticket.

The cost for adult members is $20 and child members, $12. Non-members are $25 and $15.

“We have a wonderful relationship with Inlet Affairs and they bring their low country food and seafood which is served cafeteria-style,” Joseph said.

Entertainment will include Raglan Road, Palmetto Bronze, Bill Oberst, Jr., Ron and Natalie Daise, Tru Sol Band, and more. Check the website for performance dates and times, as entertainment is subject to change.

There is a Nov. 30 Preview Benefit for Nights of A Thousand Candles which includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks and entertainment. This special event on the Saturday after Thanksgiving is $100 a ticket (available online).

Something new this year is the expansion to three nights for Light Up the New Year for three nights on Dec. 27, 28 and 31 from 6-9 p.m.

Light Up the New Year will include the glamor and romance of Nights of A Thousand Candles,” but on a smaller scale,” Joseph said.

Nights of A Thousand Candles has been a favorite event because “the beauty of Brookgreen and the art at just magical.”


I'm the assistant editor of the Carolina Forest Chronicle. I write news and business features. Have a great story idea? Please call me at 843-602-9306.

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