Light Up! Night
Since 2003, a part of the tradition of Light-Up! Night has been naming those who will actually “flip the switch” that turns on the lights that kick off the annual Nights of Lights. This year, St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver continued that tradition when she asked that the two Chiefs together light the tree, launch this hometown holiday tradition, now in its 23rd year. Click here to read more about the selection of our Light-Up! Night honorees here.
With just days to go until the start of the city’s annual holiday celebration, Nights of Lights, preparations by city crews are nearing completion on public buildings and throughout the city’s many parks as strands of lights are hung over massive live oaks and wrapped around the tall straight palms that line the streets.
Equally busy are the hundreds of residents and business owners who are working diligently outlining nearly every roof line and arched doorway of the Spanish Colonial buildings and the tall sturdy towers of the 19th Century hotels.
Then on Light-Up! Night, November 19, all the hard work pays off as the Nation’s Oldest City becomes a city of light with a magnificent display of white lights that shine through January 31.
As it has each year for over two decades, the Nights of Lights begins with Light-Up! Night the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The program begins at 4:00pm with a spirited performance by Showtime USA, a high energy song and dance troupe of young people that deliver a wide variety of holiday musical favorites. Showtime’s performance will be in front of St. Augustine’s City Hall, the Lightner Museum, located at 75 King St.
Then at 5:30pm from the historic Plaza de la Constitución Gazebo, the All Star Orchestra takes the stage with great swing and big band sounds all in grand holiday style.
At 6:30pm, the lighting ceremony begins that culminates with the turning of a switch that fills every corner of the city with brilliant, magical holiday sparkle. Entertainment continues in the Plaza until 8:00pm as thousands gathered for the lighting linger in the downtown area for dinner, some shopping and to simply enjoy the beauty of the city and the company of good friends.
From 3:00pm until 6:00pm on Light-Up! Night, the United Way of St. Johns County will be collecting non-perishable food donations at three locations for anyone making their way to the lighting ceremony in the Plaza de la Constitución. Those locations are:
- the Historic Downtown Parking Facility adjacent to the Visitor Information Center,
- the front lawn of City Hall (Lightner Museum); and
- the park at the east end of Bridge of Lions, informally called Davis Park.
- View Google Map of all locations
This kick-off to the giving season will assist efforts by United Way of St. Johns County to make sure all food pantries in the county are well stocked.
For more information, contact the United Way of St. Johns County at 904.829.9721.
Light-Up! Night is just the first night of Nights of Lights as the holiday display continues, every night, through the end of January. The best way to experience the Nights of Lights and get the best views is to park at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility, adjacent to the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center, and then enjoy displays by strolling the city's Old World Streets or taking a horse and carriage ride or board one of the tour vehicles. Simply put, get out of the car and enjoy the lights.
Also, since the lights burn bright every night, many are discovering a more leisurely pace, shorter lines and less traffic by visiting the city midweek when many hotels and bed and breakfast inns offer reduced rates.
For complete visitor information, including a calendar of events during the 10-week long Nights of Lights and details on the city's wide variety of accommodations, restaurants and dining opportunities, visit www.NightsofLights.com.
Shuttle starts on Light-Up! Night and continues on weekends through December The City of St. Augustine is offering a free Park & Ride Shuttle, to coincide with the busiest weekend nights during the Nights of Lights, starting on Light-Up! Night and continuing on weekends through the month of Decemeber.
The Park & Ride Shuttle will operate from parking locations north of the city starting on Light-Up! Night, November 19, and then continuing on Friday-Saturday nights of Thanksgiving weekend, November 25 and 26, and every Saturday night in December. The shuttle will operate from 1:00pm until 11:00pm with pick-ups approximately every 20 minutes.
The shuttle will bring passengers to the Visitor Information Center, 10 S. Castillo Dr. from three locations located north of the city:
- St. Johns County Administration Building, 500 San Sebastian View
- St. Johns County Health Department, 200 San Sebastian View
- Parking Lot at the northern end of San Marco Ave, 301 San Marco Ave.
The Park & Ride Shuttle is a free service sponsored by the City of St. Augustine. Download/print a Park & Ride Shuttle map with the dates and time of operation. For questions regarding the Park & Ride Shuttle call 904.209.4211 or send an email to Mobility@CityStAug.com.
The Nights of Lights is funded by the City of St. Augustine and the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. The City of St. Augustine manages the installation and maintenance of displays at over 100 locations in the downtown area, including buildings, parks, and gardens throughout the city. Much of the credit for the success of the Nights of Lights must go to the businesses and residents who voluntarily participate at their own expense truly making the St. Augustine a city of light.
For guidelines regarding Nights of Lights displays, click here.