Behind the scenes at Brookgreen Gardens' Night of a Thousand Candles

https://youtu.be/4WRSWssFLiIBrookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet is kicking off the holiday season once more with their highly anticipated “Night of a Thousand Candles” display, which goes up every year around the first of December.

The Christmas display has become a staple for holidays in the Myrtle Beach area, providing guests with entertainment in the form of Christmas lights, carolers, strolling musicians, and even hot chocolate.

Jon McGann, the man behind the magic, detailed some of the arduous work that goes into bringing this event to the community year after year.

“We think about it year round,” McGann says.  “As we’re taking down the previous year’s exhibits, we’re getting ready for next year.”

“In terms of physical installations,”  McGann continued, “we start in the middle of September.  We are approaching about one million lights. I’m telling everybody, about 750,000 to one million lights. It’s really hard to keep counting them.”

So to unpack, test, display and execute one million lights, it probably takes a small army of staffers and volunteers, right?

Not so, says McGann.

“We have five staff members who are working on it full time, every day. It is a core team of about five that plan, strategize, with myself for all the lighting and candle installations.”

Brookgreen Gardens has been hosting the event for 15 years, debuting their 80-foot fir tree decked with 60,000 lights, this past December.

Last year also gave us a mobile app designed specifically for the event that has event information easy to see at night and a custom schedule for users. The app is free to download on mobile devices from both the Apple App Store and Google Play; search for Brookgreen Gardens to download it.

Other activities include a Peppermint Forest in the Children’s Garden, an Ice Garden and live music by a variety of performers. The entertainment includes jazz music, solo performances, strolling bagpiper, children’s music, Celtic pop music and more. The performances last about 30 to 45 minutes, but are subject to change. Check Brookgreen’s website for the full schedule.

Admission to the gardens for Nights of A Thousand Candles is $14 for adult members; $18 for adult non-members; $8 for children of members; and $10 for children of non-members. You can buy tickets online, over the phone (235-6016) or in person.

Brookgreen Gardens is located on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. Call 235-6000.

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