St. Johns County

This year, St. Augustine lit up the night and kicked off the holiday season two weeks early

A move that seems to really be paying off for local businesses like City Gate Spirits right in the heart of downtown.

Richard deMontmollin, City Gate Spirits Director of Production said, “We think St. Augustine has really done us a favor there.”The city is seeing quite an uptick in foot traffic and even hotel stays since turning on the lights back on November 14th.

That night, the entire county had nearly 80 percent occupancy, that’s a 20 percent increase from the same day last year.

That’s according to the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the BeachesVisitors & Convention Bureau.

”The last two weeks have been amazing for us. We actually had one of the biggest Saturdays we’ve ever had. Last Saturday we had 522 tastings in one day.

”Both weekends also exceeded last year’s lodging.

City Gate Spirits tells Action News Jax Nights of Lights has really become the lifeblood for the city.

DeMontmollin said, “It was really rough on us for a while but we are crawling out of that hole and we’re very happy with what we’re seeing now.”

Lights that aren’t just lifting some of the burden off local businesses, but also lifting peoples’ spirits.

”Seeing all the lights and the happy families and the trolleys and stuff like that, I’m really appreciative to see it.”

Nights of Lights is running through January 31st so there’s still plenty of time to come check it out.