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‘It does mean the world to us’: Nights of Lights set to kick off in St. Augustine on Saturday

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — This year’s first Light-Up! Night in downtown St. Augustine is just four days away.

The event kicks off the month long Nights of Lights spectacular.

Before the fun can get started, crews are working around the clock to repair damage from Tropical Storm Nicole.

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The storm, which made its presence felt last Thursday, sprayed salt water on all the wiring on the plaza and knocked around some of the 40,000 feet of string lights.

The 29th Annual Nights of Lights kicks off in Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

“Our elves are hard at work to make sure the plaza is ready,” said Melisa Wissel, spokesperson for the City of St. Augustine.

Tropical Storm Nicole proved to be a bit of a Grinch.

“The light strands got pulled from trees,” Wissel said.

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Local shops like Aunt Matilda’s Steampunk Trunk had to close temporarily.

“We lost four days of sales,” Aunt Matilda pointed out.

Wissel said everything is back on track.

“Feeling very confident (about Saturday),” she said.

“(Crews) were (working) all day yesterday,” Matilda recalled. “Putting all those street lights up.”

Now, Nights of Lights serves as a beacon of hope after a week of uncertainty.

“It does mean the world to us,” Matilda said. “I mean, holidays will be holidays, that’s fact, but we get the boost of having people from all over the country coming to see the most-decorated city.”

And if visitors are driving to Light-Up! Night on Saturday can save themselves the stress of trying to find parking downtown.

The City of St. Augustine Free Park and Ride shuttle returns for the peak dates of Nights of Lights, starting on Light-Up! Night, Saturday, Nov.19.

The Anastasia Baptist Church location is open only for free shuttle transportation.

The St. Johns County Health Department location is open all November dates and Saturdays in December.

The Broudy’s Lot location is open on all dates.

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Drop off will be at the visitor information center, 10 South Castillo Drive.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the day of the Christmas Parade, the shuttle will operate from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.

The shuttle is made possible by the City of St. Augustine with cooperation of St. Johns County Administration and funding support from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. The special Anastasia Island shuttle on Light-Up! Night is made possible with the support of Historic Tours of America and Ripley’s Red Train Tours.

Visitors are encouraged to look for the single red bulb among the thousands of others.

Find the red bulb started in 1993 as a personal bit of holiday fun between a city employee and his daughter. It has been a tradition ever since. If you can find it, make sure to share the story on social media.

Details about Light-Up! Night festivities and entertainment are available at www.CityStAug.com/LightUpNight.

For more information about the Nights of Lights season, visit www.NightsofLights.com.

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