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Nearly Half a Million Holiday Lights at South Oregon Coast Event

Published 11/20/2019 at 5:45 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Nearly Half a Million Holiday Lights at South Oregon Coast Event

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(Coos Bay, Oregon) – Hands down the largest display on the Oregon coast – and possibly in all of Oregon – takes place throughout December at Coos Bay’s Shore Acres State Park. The annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres kicks off on November 28 at the southern Oregon coast hotspot, featuring 325,000 lights – almost all of them LED. (Above: photo couretsy Oregon's Adventure Coast).

From November 28 through December 31, this community tradition explodes onto the scene – and yes you can even end the year here as its last day is New Year’s Eve. Every night the famed coastal glowing garden features its extensive walk-through display, while the garden house provides hot cider, punch, coffee and cookies. It’s all wheelchair accessible, and there are some wheelchairs available to lend.

In it you’ll find a variety of light sculptures to gasp and gawk at, such as pelicans, puffins, jellyfish, cranes, sea urchins, octopus, sea anemones, sea stars, a leaping frog, kelp, mushrooms, butterflies, a dragonfly and playful sea lions. Check out the looming and magnificent life-sized creatures such as a massive Orca that’s leaping, an actual size spouting gray whale and a whole display of moving dolphins. Animated wonders are another must-see, including moving bumble bees, Shasta daises, a ladybug, seagulls and crabs flitting about. Look for flowers such as fuchsia, along with other animals like an octopus, porcupine, raccoon, deer, rabbit, Hummingbird, carp - and a big lighthouse.

The event is put together via a partnership between Friends of Shore Acres, Inc. and Shore Acres State Park.

It started back in 1987 when the Friends of Shore Acres slung a few strings of lights in the park’s gargantuan gardens to help celebrate. The initial endeavor actually wound up quite ambitious, with 6,000 lights, a Christmas tree and the Garden House decorated as well.

It drew 9,000 people that first year.

Now, hundreds of volunteers spend six weeks installing lights to prepare for the Thanksgiving opening, and local businesses and organizations decorate the park's 26 Christmas trees. The event hosts at least 325,000 lights, 30 large landscape lights, dozens of small landscape lights, 30 large holiday trees, dozens of lighted sculptures, and the Garden House is simply draped in twinkles.

Some 50,000 to 70,000 visitors hit the park each year, though numbers can vary depending on weather conditions.

Local businesses donate the Christmas trees. Inside the Garden House, scrolls of names are a tribute to business supporters, members and the more than 1,500 volunteers who make it happen.

Park staff also recommend these tips for making the most of this popular holiday tradition:

- Arrive before 4 pm to enjoy trails, ocean views, historical displays and the gift center.
- Watching the gardens light up as dusk settles to dark is pure magic. Don't fear the rain.
- The lights are beautiful no matter the weather. Carpool. Traffic stalls when the parking lot is full, typically by 6 pm.
- Visitors may encounter traffic flaggers on peak nights to help traffic flow and allow access for emergency vehicles.

Parking fee: $5 per vehicle or current OPRD Annual Parking Pass or Coastal Passport or current OPRD Campground Receipt or current Special Access Pass. No additional charge for lights viewing.

For more information, contact: Shore Acres State Park – (541) 888-3732; Co-Chair – Shirley & David Bridgham (541) 756-5401, bridgham@epuerto.com. See South Oregon Coast Travel

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Photo above courtesy Oregon State Parks and Recreation - below courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast



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