Should Nights of Lights remain up until Valentine's Day? | Families

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Should Nights of Lights remain up until Valentine's Day?
Families, Style

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Millions of white lights for the Nights of Lights will be turned on this Saturday.

Some business owners want the lights to stay on until Valentine's Day.

Susan Marrazzo and her husband own Simple Gestures Arts and Gifts in St. Augustine.

Wednesday, she was tagging her inventory. Many of her holiday decorations are already up inside and outside of the store.  

The outside decorations will match other decorations in St. Augustine during the Nights of Lights.

"It's just beautiful, magical," Marrazzo said, describing the Nights of Lights.

It's so magical that she and her husband are asking St. Augustine's mayor to consider keeping the lights up until Valentine's Day. 

"It's only a little bit longer," she said. "It's about two more weeks."

The 2.5 million lights draw thousands of people from around the world to St. Augustine from Thanksgiving through the end of January.

"Some customers come in and say, 'What happened to the Nights of Lights?' We say, 'Oh you just missed it. They say, 'but we're here for Valentine's Day.'" 

Marrazzo said the extra two weeks of twinkle would help businesses in St. Augustine. Other business owners agree.

"February can be a quiet month. I think it would be a good addition," Marrazzo noted.

St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles disagrees, "If it's not broke, I don't think we need to fix it."

Boles said extending the Nights of Lights could dull the shine of the season.

"Some people would like for the lights to be on year-round, but that would lose its specialness," he added.

Paul Williamson with the city said is costs about $125,000 to put on the Nights of Lights. It's unclear how how much more it would cost to string it out for another two weeks. 

Some city staff also say maintenance of the lights as well as businesses' cooperation are other considerations.

However, Marrazzo believes it makes sense to keep the lights up for two more weeks. "Because of the magic," she smiles, "It's magical."

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