The lights go on Thanksgiving Day at Shore Acres State Park near Coos Bay; 300,000 of them bringing holiday magic to the park’s formal garden. They shine daily 4-9:30 pm through December 31.

This community tradition was born when Friends of Shore Acres State Park decided to string a few lights to celebrate the holidays. During the first season, 6,000 miniature lights, one large Christmas tree and the decorated garden house drew 9,000 visitors to the park. Since then the tradition has grown from a community affair to a nationally publicized event attracting around 50,000 visitors each season.

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Story and photos by Coast Explorer Magazine (Published in Online Extras Fall/Winter 2013)