Bluffton Today - 11/19/14
After a four-year absence, The Dove Street Festival of Lights will return to Hilton Head Island this year at Shelter Cove Towne Centre.
Centre officials announced Wednesday they have collaborated with the founders of the popular holiday event to bring it back to life.
Centre director Roni Albritton said visitors will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the exhibit, which will be on display Dec. 1 through Jan. 4 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly. Visitors will be able to gain access to the festival through the Kroger and Belk entrances to the centre.
The ability to park your car and gather under the canopy of lights will make (the festival) an even more magical experience, Allbritton said. The centre merchants that are currently open are very excited about the festival and will be participating to make this experience one that all can enjoy.
The festival, started by Paul and Kristi Beckler as well as Rob Lolik was a mainstay on the island for 20 years before going on a hiatus after 2010. Island residents contributed more than $100,000 and 40,000 cans of food to needy families, as well as 20,000 presents for kids.
Radio Free Dove Street broadcast a fun message nightly; church and school groups added musical performances; and an assortment of characters including Frosty and Santa roamed the street every night to welcome thousands of people who came.
After the festival began to outgrow its neighborhood, the founders chose to pull the plug.
Everyone was sorry to see the lights go out, and we were approached several times by people and organizations who wanted to move the festival to an alternate location, said Paul Beckler, who was on hand at Wednesday's announcement. But none of the locations made sense. When we heard about Shelter Cove Towne Centre's vision for the project,the store fronts representing Dove Street homes (with) Towne Centre Drive as the focal point, we were instantly intrigued.
The fact that people will be able to get out of their cars, enjoy the lights to their hearts content and share the experience collectively as a community is a dream come true. We now believe that (the festival's) legacy will live on and continue to grow in ways we never dreamed possible.
The Deep Well Project, the festival's longstanding beneficiary, will be joined this year by PEP (Programs for Exceptional People) accepting on-site donations.
For more information on daily events and performance updates, go to sheltercovetownecentre.com.
Bluffton Today - 11/19/14