December 2014

The Dove Street Lights Return: Experience the Magic again

Author: Laura Jacobi | Photographer: Lyn Cortes

The Dove Street Festival of Lights™, a Hilton Head Island Christmas tradition for 20 years, is coming back to life at Shelter Cove Towne Centre. “We have collaborated with the founders of the original Dove Street Festival of Lights to recreate the magic of this cherished holiday event for our community,” Centre director Roni Allbritton said.

One of the key differences at the Shelter Cove Towne Centre location will be the opportunity to get closer to the exhibit. “The ability to park your car and gather under the canopy of lights will make the Dove Street Festival of Lights 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.”

Dove Street Festival of Lights founders Paul and Kristi Beckler and Rob Lolik explained that the quaint neighborhood festival simply outgrew its Dove Street location. What began with two strings of lights and a Santa hat become one of the most visited attractions on Hilton Head Island. Over the years, islanders contributed more than $100,000 in cash and 40,000 cans of food to needy families, as well as 20,000 presents for kids. Twenty thousand picture postcards were passed out to contributors. 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 visitors. The exhibit ended on a high note in 2010 and has been dark since.

“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,” Paul Beckler said. “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, 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 Dove Street Festival of Lights legacy will live on and continue to grow in ways we never dreamed possible.”

Presented by The Merchants of Shelter Cove Towne Centre, the Dove Street Festival of Lights will run from December 1, 2014 through January 4, 2015 and will be open to the public nightly from 6-10 p.m. Visitors can gain entrance to the Dove Street Festival of Lights via both the Kroger and Belk sides of the Towne Centre.

As the town park is completed next year and the light display grows with each year,” Allbritton said, “we believe the Dove Street Festival of Lights at Shelter Cove Towne Centre will become a premier holiday attraction for our community.”

The Deep Well Project, the holiday festival’s longstanding beneficiary, will be joined this year by PEP (Programs for Exceptional People), accepting donations onsite. For daily events and performance updates, please visit 

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