Enjoy the sights and lights at the Holiday Festival of Lights on James Island

Image by Flickr user sgroi

The Charleston area is beginning to buzz with holiday spirit, and there's no better way to crank it into high gear than by visiting the Holiday Festival of Lights.

With more than two million shimmering lights, the three-mile driving tour delivers more again this year with some 700 shining displays beginning November 9 and continuing through December 31. This year the Fun Run and Walk will now held on two nights and offer a sneak peak of the festival at the fun run, on November 7 and 8.

There are many attractions to see and do, including:

· Marshmallow Roasts
· Festival Train Rides
· Lakeside Lights Interactive Activity
· The Amazing Dancing Light Display (new feature added in 2010!)
· Enchanted Forest Walking Trail
· Gingerbread Houses
  - 50-Ton Sand Sculpture
  - Giant Greeting Cards
  - Carousel Rides
  - Gift Shops
  - Portable Climbing Wall
  - Photos with Santa
  - Santa's Sweet Shoppe

In the Winter Wonderland area, see a meticulously-crafted sculpture constructed with 50-tons of sand. View sugary hand-crafted structures from the annual gingerbread house competition. Shop at the two festival gift shops for goodies from local artisans, official 14-kt gold on brass collector series ornaments, toys, personalized gifts, angelic decorations and multitudes of stocking stuffers. Hop aboard the festival train for an up-close look at the light displays.

Wander over to Santa's Village, where a traditional 18-animal carousel ride whirls you around. Make s'mores at the marshmallow roasting pits, take a photo with Santa (select dates only – see website for details), and marvel at the giant 4-by-8 holiday card designs created by local students as part of the annual art competition. Plus, you'll enjoy family entertainment on select nights, including live bands, kids' activities, visits with Mrs. Claus, outdoor movies and much more.

For more information, including event hours, fees, and the most up-to-date schedules, call 843-795-4FUN (4386) or visit www.holidayfestivaloflights.com. You can also view the nightly special events listing over here.