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Jellystone Park’s 'Dancing Lights of Christmas' canceled over traffic concerns

(WZTV)

The Dancing Lights of Christmas has been a holiday staple at Jellystone park for years — the two-mile drive featured more than a 1.5 million lights synchronized to music.

Thousands of families from around Middle Tennessee have made it an annual tradition to check out the lights. Last season around 45,000 cars checked out the display.

“We talk to families all the time and they’re like 'we’re going to go, we didn’t go last year, but we’re going this year',” Lisa Crandell said. "It’s something all the kids love."

As of Wednesday, that tradition is ending. Mike Scalf, the general manager of the event, said he doesn’t know why the plug has suddenly been pulled.

"At first it was traffic, then it was zoning, then about permits and a bunch of different things,” Scalf said.

Metro Councilman Jeff Syracuse said the display has been cancelled because of traffic issues caused by vehicles entering the campground in the Opryland area.

“Traffic is the number one issue,” Syracuse said. "They released a press release today saying I’m a bad guy and I’ve shut them down. That’s not the case."

"We were looking forward to being back at Jellystone Park this year,” Mike Scalf said in a news release. “We were excited and set for the season – having hired employees, rented equipment and placed advertising. We were extremely disappointed to hear about Councilman Syracuse’s decision to shut us down. Contrary to what has been reported, we were not aware of his decision until we were contacted by a reporter Tuesday night.”

Specifically, the councilman said the display is being shut down due to failure to submit a traffic plan. He also said there is a lease disagreement, which is something Jellystone says isn't true.

The Christmas display's owner said that claim came out of left field.

“After numerous attempts to work with the city, we can’t help but feel we’re being singled out as the little guy," Scalf said. "As I’ve said, we are a small, family-owned operation. We’re no Gaylord. Trying to shut us down right before the holidays is unfair and unjust. We are trying to stay positive and rally our supporters, but the lack of notice on this decision has put us in a hard spot.”

The park is asking fans to reach out to local officials to express their support for the show.

Fox 17 News had sponsored part of this event in past holiday seasons.

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