SAINT AUGUSTINE – During this season’s City of St. Augustine renowned Nights of Lights, Old Town Trolley guests riding the famous Nights of Lights Trolley voted for their favorite holiday lighting displays in the Sixth Annual Light Up the Night! contest. The lighting event began on November 17, the start of the event’s milestone 25 years in the historic city and ran through February 3. Holiday guests and local businesses joined together during the festivities along with thousands of visitors who were guests on the Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights tour to experience the wonderland of more than three million white twinkling lights.
According to Dave Chatterton, Old Town Trolley Tours & Attractions of St. Augustine General Manager, prior to this year, only guests touring the lights on Old Town Trolleys during Nights of Lights could participate in choosing the top three lighting displays in the city for that year. This year, the campaign promotion included businesses that were not directly on the tour route and anyone could vote. Additionally, a website page included photos of 30 holiday light displays for viewing and direct voting.
Three local businesses won the voting contest for having the best holiday lighting displays in St. Augustine with first, second and third place trophy winners and more than $5,000 awarded in cash and media prizes.
The newly announced Visitor’s Choice Award for Best Light Display awards include First Place winner Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House, 20 Avenida Menendez, Second Place winner Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront, 32 Avenida Menendez, and Third Place winner Casablanca Inn On The Bay, 24 Avenida Menendez.
According to Tom Dolan, Owner of Meehan’s, the lighting display and first place award represents the importance his business and staff places on local community involvement and friendly competition to attract customers from throughout the region and visitors. Dolan added the prize cash and advertising awards will be of great benefit to his business.
Reggie Maggs, Dolan’s partner in the business along with staff installed the award-winning lights. “Nights of Lights is a major attraction at our established restaurant and bar. Participating in the lighting installation with management and staff and seeing how happy this makes our customers and team members adds to creating the beautiful ambiance of the city,” Dolan said. “We’re thrilled and appreciative of the recognition and accolades with the first-place award. We’ve won second place awards for a couple of years and now we’re proud to claim the top spot.”
Tom Manno, Vice President of Operations for Jalaram Hotels and the Hilton property commends his staff and Eric Shaw, Director of Maintenance for the lighting display which won second place in the lighting campaign. “Our company is dedicated to the renowned Nights of Lights and we take great pride in our involvement. Hotel owners are the Patel family and they are longtime business people in the region who place great importance on participation in the event,” said Manno. “The worldwide attention we gain from our lights is of benefit to our guests, staff and destination visitors who are drawn to visit us during this celebratory time of year.”
“We thank all holiday guests and local businesses during the recent festivities along with thousands of visitors who experienced the wonderland of twinkling lights and voted for their favorite locations online,” said Chatterton. “This tradition has continued to grow for our company each year. And, we thank the City of St Augustine, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau, Mint Magazine, WSOS 103.9 FM, local businesses, and so many others involved in the campaign,” he said. “With all of the time and hard work put into the lighting displays, St. Augustine was voted among the top places to view holiday lights by National Geographic. Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Light Up the Night Display Contest.”
Old Town Trolley Tours experienced one of the company’s best seasons in trolley guests and their travels throughout downtown St. Augustine during Nights of Lights and the entire year. For more than 17 years, Old Town Trolley Tours brings transportation and entertainment to St. Augustine by taking visitors and residents throughout the historic city, offering 23 stops with more than 100 points of interest. For more information, visit http://www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine or call 904-829-3800.