Organizers of the Symphony of Lights have officially launched ticket sales for the 2020 walk-through and drive-through winter festival that will occur November 25 through January 2, 2021 inside Merriweather Post Pavilion. An email was sent to their e-mail distribution list earlier today and the website - merriweatherlights.com - now contains all details on the event and the ability to purchase tickets online.
The website describes the event as follows:
The Symphony of Lights has been a time-honored Howard County holiday tradition enjoyed by many for over 25 years. Set in historic Merriweather Post Pavilion and made up of more than 300,000 bulbs, this family-oriented spectacular is a dazzling display of larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations. With the addition of new lights (and a 150 foot screen!), your time through our refreshed course guarantees a night to remember.
In a press release last month, the Columbia Association warned that any attempt to use any CA open space or property for a holiday lights vehicular procession without proper licensing and permission will be seen as a direct infringement of CA’s property rights. On October 20, Howard County Circuit Court ordered that the Inner Arbor Trust and It's My Amphitheater handle their dispute via arbitration. The court's order does not compel the Columbia Association to participate in arbitration, and CA's legal team has appealed this decision. CA's Manager of Media Relations and Communications Dannika Rynes stated that "this ruling does not expressly or implicitly authorize the defendants to trespass on or use CA property for this year's Symphony of Lights. Doing so would violate CA's property rights, as well as the recorded deeds and easements governing that land."
It appears that event organizers are moving forward with this event without authorization or approval from CA. Symphony Woods, owned by CA, surrounds and entirely landlocks Merriweather Post Pavilion, so accessing Merriweather Post Pavilion necessitates passing through CA property. Various easements and agreements exist that provide parking and access rights, and these agreements are at the center of the legal action.
As of November 5, the Symphony of Lights installations have already been set-up inside Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Tickets to drive through the event are $20 per vehicle and the drive-through is open on weekdays from 6 to 10 PM and weekends from 5 to 10 PM. Three nights of the event will be walk-through nights in which vehicles will not allowed - Sunday November 29, Monday December 7, and New Years Eve's December 31. A Frequently Asked Question page states that a portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Howard County General Hospital.