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Shore Acres Christmas Lights Return, S. Oregon Coast Fest Has New Entry System

Published 07/28/22 at 6:25 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Shore Acres Christmas Lights Returns, S. Oregon Coast Fest Has New Ticket System

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(Coos Bay, Oregon) – Sure it's July right now, but there is good Christmas news from the south Oregon coast. (Photos courtesy Friends of Shore Acres State Park)

After some on-again / off-again schedules due to the pandemic, the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park plans its return this winter. Exceptional lights and times are always to be had, this time around coming November 24 to December 31 at the Coos Bay-area park.

The 2022 version of the colorful holiday favorite comes with something new: a timed entry system for visitors to park their vehicles from 4 p.m to 9 p.m.

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) said each vehicle must purchase a $5 ticket, which will then be assigned a date and entry time at the visitors' choice.

“The event parking fee is the same as the normal day-use parking permit price for the park,” OPRD said in a release.


Visitors to the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park will have to reserve their spot this time, and then have their ticket for parking ready to show the ranger at the booth when they arrive at their selected times. Visitors will no longer have the option to purchase a parking permit onsite to park and attend.

“We’re excited that the Friends of Shore Acres will host Holiday Lights again in 2022 and that this timed entry system will help keep the flow of traffic moving during this very popular event,” said Lee Ricci, park manager for the Sunset Bay Management Unit.

Last year did not go so well for the famed south Oregon coast light show: it was announced in June of 2021 that it would go ahead after 2020's pandemic-caused cancellation, but uncertainties about the disease brought about the shut down of the festival by September.

The holiday affair brings in tens of thousands to the southern Oregon coast each year, and spelled possible problems considering what the pandemic was up to last year, in spite of vaccines. Some 50 to 60 thousand people visit every time. The record was 74,392 visitors in 2017, largely because of little rain.

Some 325,000 LED lights create this stunning display in the old mansion's garden. Alongside this are six large holiday trees decorated by various organizations and businesses, and dozens of lighted sculptures including life-size whales, animated sea lions, an undersea garden, Koi under water in the pond, a leaping frog in the pond, leaping dolphins and more.

This remarkable south Oregon coast tradition began back in 1987, when the Friends of Shore Acres, Inc. in cooperation with Shore Acres State Park, decided to "string a few lights" to help celebrate the holidays. It was an instant hit. That initial season, they had 6,000 miniature lights, one Christmas tree, and the open Garden House drew 9,000 visitors.

The parking entry tickets are now available online, or you can call 800-452-5687. The $5 event parking permit is non-refundable.

The entry ticket will be required, however some may have the $5 fee waived if the person making the reservation has one of the following situations:

12- or 24-month parking permit; special access pass for either the veterans with service-connected disabilities or foster, guardian and adoptive foster parents of Oregon foster children; current Oregon State Park camping confirmation that coincides with the date of the event visit; or an Oregon Pacific Coast Passport.

“We realize that it’s early for many families to make November and December plans and we want people to have an opportunity for spur-of-the-moment visits,” Ricci said. “We’re holding half the parking sites for that rolling seven-day window to ensure visitors can reserve closer to the event.”

Visit the Oregon State Parks website for 12 and 24-month parking permit and special access pass information. Oregon Pacific Coast Passport information is available at the US Forest Service website.

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