A national tourism panel has named the Lowcountry's Holiday Festival of Lights one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2012.

The American Bus Association said the annual lights festival, sponsored by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, "offers excellent entertainment value to tour groups and individual travelers from around the world." The accolade was published in the September/October issue of Destinations magazine.

The festival features Santa's Village and a three-mile driving tour with 700 shining displays affixed with 2 million bulbs at James Island County Park.

The current festival opened Nov. 11 and will close Jan. 1. Festival hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Last year, 222,108 people entered the festival in 57,485 vehicles, PRC spokeswoman Sarah Reynolds said. The 2010-11 festival also set a record for ticket sales, bringing in more than $1.17 million, compared with $1.04 million brought in by the 2009-10 festival, she said.

For each lights festival, the park's RV camp is filled with travelers who have come to see, and even volunteer services to, the light festival, she said.