Shore Acres Holiday Lights–A glowing holiday tradition (2010)
2009 Grant’s Getaways
The lights go on Thanksgiving Day at Shore Acres State Park—300,000 of them bringing holiday magic to the park’s formal garden. They shine 4-9:30 p.m. daily through Dec. 31.
For the 24th consecutive year, the south coast tradition has a new display. This year’s feature is a lighted model of a clipper ship with historical ties to the park and North Bend-Coos Bay. Built for the Friends of Shore Acres by welding instructor Ray Daniels, the 3,000-light display is of the Western Shore, also known as the Oregon Clipper. First launched from the North Bend shipyard in 1874, the 184-foot-long ship was the largest full-rigged sailing vessel ever built on the West Coast (learn more). The Holiday Lights version is 11 feet long with a 12-foot high mast.
The Western Shore was the flagship of a fleet of tall ships owned by Capt. Asa Simpson, who along with his sons built a lumber shipping empire. One of the sons, Louis J. Simpson, eventually built a private estate, now Shore Acres State Park. The large mansion on the estate is long gone, but the restored five-acre garden is the heart of today’s park.
Shore Acres Holiday Lights began in 1987 with 6,000 miniature lights strung by the Friends of Shore Acres. Vibrant, energy-saving LED lights have replaced the originals, and the show has grown from a community affair into a nationally publicized event. Around 50,000 people visit annually.
You will need a state park day-use parking permit ($5 daily). Be sure to visit the garden caretaker’s house for a cup of hot cider.