No Symphony of Lights? What to Do Instead – and When to Expect the Symphony’s Return
By Susan Kim, Staff Writer
After 21 years of lighting up Columbia, the Symphony of Lights js taking a break to allow for the redevelopment of Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. Don’t worry; Symphony of Lights will return in 2016 with environmentally-friendly, more cost-effective LED lights. Many of the current lights are more than two decades old, so it’s time for them to retire.
Until then, what to do?
First, if you’re truly desperately missing the Symphony of Lights, take the video tour: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jsb0uJulPZM.
Want to help refurbish the lights? You can sponsor a new LED light bulb for a donation of $10 through Howard County General Hospital’s Brighten the Lights campaign: howardhospitalfoundation9458.thankyou4caring.org/donationpages/brightenthelights.
Now, here are some “symphony substitutes,” brought to you by The Business Monthly with best wishes for the holidays.
The Bartlett’s. The family, not the pears. If you’re going to visit one house, choose the Bartlett’s house at 4802 Red Hill Way in Ellicott City.
There are many, many homes within shouting distance of the (paused) Symphony of Lights with holiday displays that could be described as “pretty good” or even “fantastic.” But Bryan and Angie Bartlett are going to be featured on ABC’s holiday decorating competition series “The Great Christmas Light Fight!” in December. Their house epitomizes the show’s description of “extreme” holiday decorating, with 37,000 lights that flash to the beat of 38 songs powered by two miles of extension cords.
Plus the family regularly raises funds for good causes. Last year, after the Bartletts learned about Rem Lomat, an 8-year-old boy from Glen Burnie with terminal brain cancer, they invited him over to turn on the lights, then they raised funds for his family.
The Poinsettia Tree at The Mall in Columbia. Time-honored, elegant and visited by more than 7.5 million people in November and December, the tree originally was created by Leroy Brown, who served as chief horticulturist for the Rouse Company from 1961 until his death in 1990.
When he first created the tree, according to a letter from his daughter, Brown had to construct a steel superstructure, an independent watering system for each plant, and poinsettias grown to specific proportions and peaking on a specific day. Don’t take it for granted. It did disappear one year, remember?
Lights On The Bay at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. Open through Jan. 2, this glistening, two-mile drive-through lights show benefits the Anne Arundel Medical Center and features more than 60 holiday lights displays.
In addition to popular classic displays that visitors have enjoyed for years, including a colonial village inspired by historic Annapolis and one of the U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen tossing their hats in the air, guests also will be treated to two new themes this year — a North Pole village and enchanted fairy tales. If you purchase 3-D glasses when you get there, you’ll be treated to some extra special effects. See www.lightsonthebay.org.
Hampden, hon. Get out of the suburbs and visit 34th Street in Hampden, Baltimore. The houses are lit from sidewalk to rooftop, along with every tree and lamppost. Hampden was recently ranked by USA Today in its list of the top 10 places in the country to see a light display, and also has been recognized by “Nightline,” The Travel Channel, Maryland Lottery and Home and Garden. Plus, you’ll learn something about Baltimore when you gaze the famous hubcap tree, metallic Santa crab and snowmen made from painted bicycle rims. For more information, visit www.christmasstreet.com.