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Brookings' Nature's Coast Holiday - Festival of Lights Hits S. Oregon Coast Soon

Published 10/31/23 at 4:33 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Brookings' Nature's Coast Holiday - Festival of Lights Hits S. Oregon Coast Soon

(Brookings, Oregon) - Get ready for even more holiday lights than you knew existed out on the Oregon coast.

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Down near the California border, Oregon's final burgh of Brookings puts on quite the glowing event each holiday season. Nature's Coastal Holiday - Festival of Lights takes over Azalea State Park beginning November 24 this year, with the 2023 season ending on December 27.

Millions of lights will adorn the grounds of this southern Oregon coast park, creating a kind of labyrinth of colorful bulbs and wondrous holiday figures to meander in and around. There's enough here that it actually takes some 30 to 45 minutes to get through.

Nature's Coastal Holiday - Festival of Lights takes place nightly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays they have Santa and Mrs. Santa there to talk to the kiddies. It is $3 for adults and kids under 12 are free, but they only take cash.

The one caveat is that since it's the Oregon coast, you may find inclement weather cancels the holiday frivolity for the evening. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for such last-minute announcements.

Nature's Coastal Holiday - Festival of Lights is a genuine expanse of lights, with acres of them thickly layered even on the ground. Sometimes it's difficult to tell what something is until you're able to step back a ways, and in the case of many of the lights on the ground they create the designs of water - ocean that these whimsical creations inhabit. Luminous versions of all kinds of creatures abound, such as sharks, whales or dolphins, some of which appear to jump out of the sea and through the air via special techniques of layering the bulbs.

In some areas, great arches are formed by the strings of lights, making elegant and ethereal walkways or tunnels. Trees of the park may become impressionistic of gigantic jellyfish made of glowing blue. Shrubbery morphs into magical tidepool life. Purplish sea horses are within reach of gigantic, colorful candy canes and nearby sit fantastical Christmas. There's much that moves here, shifting colors and directions, sometimes in time to music.

It's all a literal flood of resplendence, of captivating lights and shapes.

To boot, hot cocoa, hot cider and cookies are to be had at the Snack Shack.

The whole grand affair got started in 1997, when a group of locals donated their Christmas lights to the park. Volunteers set about putting up all those lights - all several thousand of them. 26 years later, there are more than 3 million bulbs involved.

Nature's Coastal Holiday - Festival of Lights started with a small band of volunteers, and now it's grown to an army of them. This is out of necessity, really, as it takes about a month to put up all the lights. They've already begun the process earlier this week in the cheery south Oregon coast town.

It normally pulls in some 20,000 people over its run.

Dogs are normally allowed in Azalea Park but they are not suggested for the holiday event. Organizers say loud noises and crowds could make behavior unpredictable.

The event does not provide wheelchairs, but the paths are paved, ADA-accessible and so are the restrooms onsite. See their site.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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