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CHARLESTON — What makes the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres State Park so special? The Friends of Shore Acres.

More than 325,000 LED Holiday Lights have been added to the spectacular garden display since the first Christmas Light display Dec. 11, 1987. That's a lot of lights and a lot of volunteer hours.

David and Shirley Bridgham led the charge when they helped found Friends of Shore Acres Dec. 4, 1986. The Friends group launched the first Christmas light display and now 32 years later look what they've done. The Bridgham's roles have changed through the years but they are still right in the thick of it. Unlike many organization there is no shortage of volunteers. In fact, there is a set of distinct roles for volunteers. Many people are proud to be a part of something that brings so much joy to so many people. It seems like the whole community rolls out the red carpet with the long list of volunteers who serve donated hot cider and coffee, punch and cookies, to visitors in the Garden House. Visitors from 42 countries and 43 states, nearly 75,000 people just for the 2017 Holiday Lights, where offered a visit to the historic Gardener's Cottage adorned with holiday cheer. 

Admission to the park is $5 per vehicle, sorry dogs aren't welcome and neither are credit cards.

There will be a new lighted sign at Sunset Bay State Park to give visitors information about the distance, and the possibility of weekend shuttles from Sunset Bay during some of the busiest weekends. Plans are in the works for more parking at Shore Acres, but check the website for specifics, www.shoreacres.net. In fact while you are there check out the annual journal to see what kind of volunteer work you might be able to do for the Friends.

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