ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- With the flick of a switch, Nights of Lights sparkled life into downtown St. Augustine. The annual illumination is also sparkling more life into the local economy as hundreds of tourists pack the historic district every year.
"Every tree lights up and twinkles and it's gorgeous and everybody's always happy," said Sherry Homayoumi, from Orlando.
The display gained attention from more than just tourists like Sherrie. National Geographic Magazine named it one of the top ten best holiday light displays in the world.
"Anytime of the year is wonderful enough to stroll these narrow streets but once it's all lit up for the nights of lights, it's very very special," said Paul Williamson with the City of St. Augustine.
Wiliamson says events like this are a driving force for the historic city's economy. Florida's historic coast saw record-setting tourism this year, up more than four percent from last year.
"So many people like to come here already but it adds this romantic flavor while they're here particularly with Christmas," said Williamson. "There's lots of shopping, dinning, having a drink, and the bed and breakfasts love it. It just really shows what St. Augustine really is."
The gentle glow of more than 3 million white lights will keep tourists like Sherrie and her husband coming back - dinning at local eateries and staying overnight for years to come. "We come almost every year."
Nights of Lights will be on display until January 31.