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Grand Illumination

An Historic Holiday Brought to Life! Grand Illumination marks the 234th anniversary of the end of the Revolution in Charleston and the return of Arthur Middleton after his time as a prisoner-of-war. The Gardens and House Museum are illuminated by starlight, torchlight and candlelight. Guests join actors in period costume on a walking tour as they give theatrical accounts of events of the season. The evening concludes with a traditional holiday buffet.

Christmas 1782 would have been a special holiday season for the Middletons at Middleton Place because of two historic events. In late November, Arthur Middleton had returned to Middleton Place after a two-year absence from his home, his wife Mary and their six young children. Also, the much anticipated evacuation of Charleston by the British army finally took place on December 14 of that momentous year. The Middleton family was together again and the War for Independence, at least in the South, was over. And so, Middleton Place is remembering that remarkable Christmas season with a special evening event: Grand Illumination: Christmas 1782.

“Illumination” can be defined as lighting up, brightening or decorating with light. It also means to illustrate, explain or interpret. Grand Illumination at Middleton Place is an event embodying all meanings of the word. Guests can stroll along torch-lit Garden paths, interact with costumed interpreters, visit the House Museum by glowing candlelight, learn more about that exceptional Christmas tide, and enjoy seasonal music and refreshments. The Grand Illumination, with its theatrical approach to the Middleton story, provides the perfect beginning to this holiday season by recalling an extraordinary Christmas of 234 years ago.

Careful attention to research and documentation on the family and Low Country holiday traditions of the 18th century create an event with drama and historical accuracy. Actors have been recruited to serve as the Middleton Family, their servants, and other interesting personalities. All will be costumed in authentic clothing generously loaned by Colonial Williamsburg.

The evening concludes with a holiday buffet in the Middleton Place Pavilion offering a cornucopia of local, seasonal fare such as fried chicken, honey-glazed ham, collards, macaroni pie, sweet potato casserole, biscuits, pecan pie, and much more.

Advance reservations are required by purchasing online at or by calling 843-556-6020.


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Middleton Place
4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414



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