A lawsuit filed by Columbia Association (CA) against the current Symphony of Lights operator is still the subject of ongoing litigation. As that lawsuit moves its way through the court system, it has come to our attention that the operator plans to move forward with ticket sales for a 2020 Symphony of Lights event. It’s CA’s understanding that the holiday lights procession would once again make its way through Symphony Woods Park (the Park).

CA has attempted to work with the organization that now runs Symphony of Lights, hoping to create a more sustainable event that takes the environmental value and integrity of CA’s open space into account. Rather than cooperate, the operator ignored CA’s concerns and held a vehicular processional event last winter and is now advertising a similar event for 2020. This is being done without CA’s license or permission and in violation of multiple easement agreements.

As court proceedings continue, 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.

The land at Symphony Woods Park is owned by CA, but the space truly belongs to all members of our community. CA has a responsibility to maintain and protect the valuable and rare green space it owns in Downtown Columbia for the use and benefit of those community members, a duty rooted in James Rouse’s vision. The procession of slow and idling vehicles during Symphony of Lights blocks and impedes CA and its guests from accessing Symphony Woods Park and its amenities for as many as six weeks during the holiday season.

Symphony of Lights has morphed from a purely charitable activity into a for-profit event that conflicts with CA’s plans and use of the Park. CA recognizes that holiday events provide great value to the community, and we’re excited to work with neighbors to develop new ways to celebrate for the benefit of our families, community and precious green space. ​​​


Scott E


  1. I’m sure that if a poll were taken, most people would vote to continue the Symphony of Lights drive through event. Why is this issue still rearing it’s ugly head? CA already has an image problem and they wish to complicate it further by pursuing a lawsuit while complaining about funds.

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