Night of 1,000 Lights draws hundreds of holiday shoppers, visitors to downtown Aiken
Downtown Aiken was abuzz Thursday night as hundreds of people – and that includes Mr. and Mrs. Claus – converged on local shops and eateries during the Night of 1,000 Lights.
The annual festival features businesses open later than usual, a bevy of live music and a treat or two for the curious, if not bold, shopper.
Luminaries lined the streets Thursday night, and there was a distinct snap in the air. Parking spots were hard to come by, and a horse, Little Richard, could be seen strolling about and stopping for the occasional selfie.
Mayor Rick Osbon, who made his way down Laurens Street early in the evening, described the Night of 1,000 Lights celebration as “another great tradition in Aiken.”
“It’s a great time to get out,” Osbon said, later adding that Night of 1,000 Lights is “definitely” part of his fall-to-winter checklist.
The mayor also mentioned the event’s importance to local businesses.
“It’s a significant night,” he said, hinting at the volume of shopping being done.
Danny Minolfo, co-owner of Lionel Smith Ltd., echoed Osbon’s sentiments.
Minolfo said Night of 1,000 Lights offers both his business and the downtown area in general a great deal of exposure.
“For us, it’s obviously a boost,” Minolfo said, standing in the crowd that had swept into the Laurens Street menswear store.
Minolfo said half the people who come in over the course of the event are browsers; half are buyers.
“It’s been a great night,” Minolfo continued, noting the distinctly nicer weather this year. Last year, Night of 1,000 Lights was dampened by rain.
Night of 1,000 Lights ran 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. Other businesses that participated in the event included 3 Monkeys, the Aiken Center for the Arts, Beyond Bijoux, Equine Divine, Return Engagement and Fox and Lady, according to the Aiken Downtown Development Association.