New Limits for St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights

nights of lights st augustine

St. Augustine Implements New Limits for Nights of Lights Celebration

Addressing Tradition and Fatigue

An annual tradition in St. Augustine, the Nights of Lights celebration, known for drawing significant visitor activity, will change. The St. Augustine City Commission recently voted unanimously to redefine the celebration’s duration, setting it from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through the last weekend in January.

Impact of the Change

While the adjustment may seem minor, it will result in a reduction of downtown displays on certain occasions. Typically, the festivities extend through January 31 and occasionally stretch into the first weekend of February, depending on the calendar. However, the new resolution aims to curtail this extension, leading to a slightly shorter celebration period.

Concerns from Business Owners

Despite its intention to alleviate congestion and fatigue among residents, the decision hasn’t been universally welcomed. Several business owners voiced their apprehensions, emphasizing the significant impact of Nights of Lights on their revenue. Jennifer Cushion, owner of Country Carriages, and JoAnna Engel, co-founder of The Tasting Tours, highlighted the importance of the event for their businesses, with a substantial portion of their revenue being generated during this period.

Unanimous Commission Decision

Notwithstanding the concerns raised by business owners, the City Commission remained steadfast in its commitment to limit the duration of the illuminated city. The high demand for tours and the influx of visitors contribute to congestion, further burdening residents. Commissioner Barbara Blonder acknowledged pushback from the business community but emphasized residents’ desire for respite from the festivities.

Residents’ Perspective

Commissioner Cynthia Garris echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need to prioritize residents’ well-being in decision-making. Despite the economic benefits of tourism, the strain on residents cannot be overlooked. As St. Augustine grapples with its identity as a tourist destination, balancing economic prosperity with residents’ quality of life remains a pivotal challenge.
About the Author
Kim Devlin
Kim Devlin is Your St Augustine Realtor. A Relocation Specialist serving Northeast Florida, St Johns County and Flagler County. She enjoys sharing real estate tips and local insight on communities and living in St Augustine Florida. Tune in weekly and be sure to subscribe to her monthly newsletter.