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11/17/2016 - Dove Street Holiday Lighting

Dove Street Christmas Lighting Hilton Head Island, SC Information & History The spirit of the Dove Street Festival of Lights now has a new home at the Shelter Cove Towne Centre. Shelter Cove Towne Center recreates the look of the Dove Street festival. Crews string cables along the lane to support the canopy as business owners continue to plan decorations for their storefronts. You mayl see doves flying over a wintery mannequin in an evergreen swing in the windows of retail stores. A snow machine and archway of packages appear outside crafts and gifts shops. The festival also features entertainment in the plaza off Shelter Cove Lane. Come listen to the Christmas sound of Christmas with choral singers. Shelter Cove's lighting display originated on Dove Street near Coligny Plaza. As residents of Hilton Head Island, for 15 and 22 years respectively, we were fortunate to experience the Dove Street lights at Christmas. Turning right onto Avocet Road, then left onto Dune Lane, it would be completely dark. Then, drivers would turn left onto Dove Street and turn off their headlights. Then… there was Christmas Magic. Now the row of shops and restaurants along Shelter Cove Lane illuminates a canopy of 50,000 lights, recreating the feel of a community event that drew islanders to Dove Street for 20 years before the festival ended in 2010. Organizers said the new event may not be a “mirror image” of the Dove Street festivities, but it captures its spirit and continues its tradition of goodwill. Paul Beckler, co-founder of the Dove Street Festival of Lights, said he was thrilled the Merchants of Shelter Cove Towne Centre and Kroger decided earlier this year to resurrect the event and managed to do it so quickly. The new event will avoid the strain residents felt as their festival outgrew Dove Street, including the costly electrical bills from lighting the street and the effort of managing heavy traffic. This holiday season, the festival was simply looking for a new home, and Shelter Cove was looking for a little heart. "It's a perfect match." Paul Beckler, who started the festival with his wife and Rob Lolik, says he has missed the coffee-shop atmosphere Dove Street provided for one month every year. People would come for the friends and the "spontaneous episodes of enthusiasm," as much as for the decorations, he said. Sometimes, onlookers broke out into song, and Beckler recalls one night when a college glee club from Ohio lined both sides of the street and bounced carols back and forth for more than an hour. If you are in the giving spirit, volunteers staff the event each night to collect donations for two Hilton Head organizations, The Deep Well Project and Programs for Exceptional People, which promotes independence and education for special-needs adults. Through the years, the event raised more than $100,000 in cash, 40,000 cans of food and 20,000 toys for needy families.

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