MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Brookgreen Gardens is preparing for the last weekend of their big event, Nights of a Thousand Candles. More than 50,000 people attended the event last year, and organizers said it continues to grow this year. The event is in it's eighteenth year.
However, things are being run at little differently for 2016. Heather Benso is the vice president of marketing for Brookgreen Gardens. She said the event was almost too big. Organizers decided to not sell tickets at the gate in order to even out attendance and decrease traffic on Highway 17. Highway Patrol still oversees traffic. When attendees leave this year, they must make a right turn onto Highway 17 South. If you want to head north, turn at Sandy Island Rd., Benso said. This change was a highway patrol suggestion for safety purposes.
The new ticketing rule also keeps people from crowding the event on good weather days, and leaving it empty on cold nights.
The event has run this year Dec. 1-3, 8-10 and 15-18. Starting the weekend of Dec. 8, Benso said the gardens decided to accommodate cold temperatures. They added outside heaters to the event, stationed at the informational kiosks throughout the gardens. They will be out Dec. 15-18 as well. Entertainment and dining tents are also heated.
Benso said the event was only two nights when it first began with 1,000 candles. This year, it spans to ten nights and 7,000 candles. Nights of a Thousand Candles couldn't happen without Brookgreen Gardens volunteers, Benso said. About 40 work Nights of a Thousand Candles each night, lighting the 7,000 candles in less than an hour.
There is food and drink available for purchase and live entertainment, including Christmas carolers. Benso said to check out the Brookgreen Gardens phone app for the full schedule of events and dinner menu. It's free and available on Google Play and in the App Store. Or, click here for the event's website.
The event is sold out Saturday, Dec. 17. However, tickets are available for Friday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 18. The 18th is the last day. Nights of a Thousand Candles runs from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you have tickets, you can change the date up to 3 p.m. on the day of attendance by calling 1-888-718-4253. For more information click here.