Last night Sidney and I decided to get in the Christmas spirit by doing a fun holiday activity. In Myrtle Beach, if you ask where you can do such a thing, everyone will give you the exact same answer: Night of a Thousand Candles. Hosted at Brookgreen Gardens, a magnificent sculpture park spanning 9,100 acres located a couple miles from a nearby community called Murrels Inlet, it is allegedly the premiere destination to get your Yuletide cheer on.
For three weekends in December, the gardens are transformed at night to a holiday wonderland. The grounds are overtaken by Christmas lights, and, like the name suggests, candles. According to the event program, the area is covered by close to a million Christmas lights and each evening over 5,000 candles are lit. If you need spectacular lights to “make your season bright” there is no better option than Night of a Thousand Candles.
Yesterday morning I conveniently purchased tickets online and then around 6:45 p.m. Sidney and I got in my car to make the 20 minute drive to Brookgreen Gardens…only we didn’t go through the gates until 8:30 p.m. Because the event is so popular, traffic is absolutely horrendous. The last two miles of the drive took us over an hour to complete. Cars were at a standstill. It was a little frustrating because we didn’t realize how much of a cluster it would be to enter. I started substituting the last word in “Night of a Thousand Candles” with other descriptions, much to the chagrin of Sidney. I think my most fitting one was “Night of a Thousand Cars.”
Once we parked and stretched our legs we were ready to tour the gardens. As you can imagine, candles line all the walkways. They say it takes 40 staff members to light all the candles each evening. Besides just directing people where to go, you can find the candles floating in the numerous ponds throughout the premises. Enclosed in circle-shaped orbs, they provided a pretty cool effect.
The candles were cool and all but I was much more a fan of the lights. As I said above, Night of a Thousand Candles boasts just shy of seven digits when it comes to the number of Christmas lights they have on site. The bright white decorations adorned entire parts of trees, made ceilings across the ponds, and hung vertically from branches (my favorite part).
The most impressive lighting aspect of the whole display though was a giant fir tree covered every inch in dazzling lights. I thought it looked spectacular and I had to wonder how they were able to get all those lights strung.
If the event was just the candles and the lights though, I think I would walk away disappointed. The price of $18 per ticket insists that there must be more to it. Don’t fret, there is. While enjoying your evening you can check out several holiday toy trains that are spinning around on their tracks. You can also admire a pond that doesn’t really even look like a pond. Why doesn’t it look like a pond? Because its surface is completely covered with cranberries. That’s right, the water is completely hidden with some 100,000 cranberries (information from Sidney). It really is a sight to see.
But for me, the best part of the entire evening was the entertainment. Throughout the gardens they have a few different tents housing musical acts. Sidney and I got to sit in on a duo called the Thistledown Tinkers. Wearing kilts the musicians played Irish-inspired Christmas tunes with their fiddles. Much to my enjoyment, they also had a couple of performers walking around playing bagpipes. I absolutely love bagpipes. Sidney and I could hear them far off and we did our best to track them down as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, once they became within eyesight they were concluding for the evening. It was still cool to hear the powerful sounds out in the distance though.
The entertainment hit a peak at the end of the evening. We found a larger heated tent that was housing a band playing a variety of Christmas songs. Outside of the tent was a snack and beverage station. Sidney ordered a hot apple cider and I got myself a winter Sad Adams beer and we went inside, sat down in a couple of chairs, and just enjoyed ourselves. That probably got me in the Christmas spirit more than anything else.
You have one more weekend to experience Night of a Thousand Candles. I recommend you go early because as I painfully detailed, you will be waiting in traffic. I feel it is a unique holiday outing so if you don’t mind spending $18 then take a journey out to Brookgreen Gardens. Don’t Blink.