Merriweather Symphony of Light isn’t your regular old light display: 300,000 lightbulbs, a 65-foot tall Christmas tree and 3D animations are just a few of the features the holiday attraction uses to brighten your holiday spirit. On display through January 1, Symphony of Lights offers guests the chance to drive through a mile of elaborate decorations showcasing new lights and a refreshed course for the 2019 holiday season. Special walk-through nights will also be held for families and pets, allowing visitors a closer look at the sparkling set ups.
On Tap spoke with the man behind the displays, owner of Event Consultant and Management, Brad Canfield, and talked about Symphony of Lights’ long history, their work with Howard County Hospital and showstopping displays.
On Tap: How long has Merriweather been hosting the Symphony of Lights?
Brad Canfield: It’s been at and around Merriweather for 25-plus years and it’s been owned by the Howard County General Hospital as a fundraiser. Recently it’s changed, with the hospital still receiving donations, but they no longer manage it. The venue [use] has always been donated, because we’re raising money for the hospital.
OT: How does the music venue tie into the attraction?
BC: The display gets its name from the Symphony Woods around Merriweather, which the hospital came up with more than 25 years ago. The stage and seating area of the venue are also a part of the overall display.
OT: What makes this light display different from others in the DMV area?
BC: There’s more technology. We have LED video screens with 3D images on it, and we use projectors and lasers and other things. There are the traditional light displays you see every year, but they’ve got modern technology added to them.
OT: What are some of the showstopping displays people can expect to see?
BC: One of our biggest displays this year is a 65-foot Christmas tree with a real train going around it.
OT: What are some of the events that that are held annually as part of the Symphony of Lights?
BC: Festive Families has already happened, but it’s a walk-through for families and is sort of our opening event. Then we have one called Tail Lights which is a dog walk, so people can bring their dogs to walk through. We also do Midnight at 7 which is a New Year’s Eve event designed for kids – because they can’t stay up till midnight, we do a countdown at 7 p.m. like its midnight and have a firework show.
OT: Do you all have any big ideas for Symphony of Lights in the future?
BC: We do have some plans, but nothing concrete yet. Every year we change it up as much as we can. There are some of the same displays, sort of the classics, and then we try to add new touches to them.
OT: What is your favorite part of the Symphony of Lights?
BC: I like the tradition of it and people that come back year after year.
Hop in your car and wander through Merriweather Symphony of Lights every weekday from 6-10 p.m. and weekends from 5-10 p.m. through January 1. $20 per vehicle on regular nights with discounts offered for military and veterans. For more info visit www.merriweatherlights.com
Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; 410-715-5550; www.merriweathermusic.com