New light show brings $36,500 for charities

Old Santee Canal Park's 'Celebrate the Season' light show drew more than 8,000 cars from Nov. 25 to Dec. 30 and raised $36,500 for Berkeley County charities.

More than 8,000 cars entered the gate during Old Santee Canal Park's first "Celebrate the Season," raising $36,500 for Berkeley County charities.

"This will definitely be an annual event," said Old Santee Canal Park director Troy Diel. "It will be one of the highlights of the season for Moncks Corner and Berkeley County for years to come."

Diel said many of the people who attended were surprised by how big the light show was.

The 1.5-mile drive-through show, which was open Nov. 25 to Dec. 30, had more than 50 displays. On weekends, the park held fairs with crafts, entertainment and food.

"We enjoyed great support from the community, with people driving through several times throughout the month," Gore said.

Admission was $5 per car, all of which is being donated to charities.

"In general, I'd say this inaugural Celebrate The Season was a tremendous success from every standpoint," said Santee-Cooper spokeswoman Mollie Gore.

"(It) was a gift to the community that will keep giving back through the work of the Trident United Way, the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center, and the other charities supported by the event."

The cost of the show was offset by sponsorships from local businesses and civic groups. In addition, the displays were powered by Santee Cooper Green Power, made in South Carolina from local resources, and used energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, which are 90 percent more efficient than traditional lights.

"From the beginning, we had sponsors signing up at levels that beat our targets, which allowed us to purchase more light displays," Gore said.

She said plans are already under way for next year.

"We are excited to build on the ideas people offered as we look to make the 2012 Celebrate The Season even better," she said.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or Facebook.