Paul K Williamson, Public Affairs Director for the City of St. Augustine, announced to Historic City News today that as the 18th season of Nights of Lights ends, after tonight the city would be a little bit darker.
The annual winter celebration of light started its 10-week long schedule on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and concludes on January 31.
Although the city may seem darker, its image was brightened throughout the season with both a record number of visitors as well as national recognition. This year the Nights of Lights was named one of National Geographic’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” and AAA named St. Augustine as one of its “12 Favorite Places to Catch the Holiday Spirit in the USA and Canada.”
As it has been since the beginning of the program, the City of St. Augustine is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the displays on over 100 public sites. The majority of the funding for the program comes from the city with additional support from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. But the true impact of the event is in large part due to the participation of private property owners who willingly participate in the program.
“Judging by the success of the many holiday events and the comments received by visitors, the Nights of Lights has truly become a grand event for St. Augustine,” Williamson said. “Of course, much of the credit for the program’s success goes to the business and home owners throughout the community who participate at their own expense each year.”
“The community as a whole, and of course all of our visitors, appreciate the wide spread voluntary participation that makes this event a success. And just as we ask for participation to turn the lights on at the start, we now ask for that same participation in turning lights off,” said Williamson.
According to City ordinances, exterior display of holiday lights within historic districts is allowed only during the Nights of Lights which runs annually from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through the last day of January.
The 19th season of the Nights of Lights will begin on Saturday, November 17, 2012.