Do you delight in twinkling lights and spectacular sights during the holidays? Do you find joy in dazzling displays of illuminated Christmas characters, ornaments, and more? Then this magical, free drive-through light display fills the bill.

Photo courtesy of Veterans United Home Loans

By Peg Cameron Gill

This Christmas, “trip” the light fantastic – with a trip to see the Veterans United Home Loans holiday Bright Lights & Holiday Nights extravaganza at the company’s headquarters in Columbia. Gather your family or friends for a festive car-cruise through a dazzling display of lights. Now through Dec. 17, the one mile-long loop of a merry winter wonderland is open from 7 to 10:30 PM each night.

The Columbia-based company, which provides home mortgage financing to both active US service members and veterans, began holding the elaborate event in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. 

The inaugural year, this now-annual holiday tradition at the “Jake” campus complex, included over one million light bulbs and accommodated on average 1,000 cars per night. 

Fun fact: The “Jake” facility is named that because Veterans United took the building over from State Farm when they vacated it. Normally the company names all of its facilities from the military alphabet – Alpha, Tango, Whiskey, etc. Jake is the only one not named from the military alphabet – it’s because of the Jake from State Farm ads!

Photo courtesy of Veterans United Home Loans

About Veterans United:

The company was founded in Columbia in 2002 with just four employees. Ever since it has been dedicated to continually providing service with the same expertise and enthusiasm that has made it a leader in the VA Loan industry.

In just two short decades, Veterans United Home Loans has closed over 500,000 VA Loans and became the #1 VA lender for homebuyers in the nation.

The company’s internal culture is well known and highly regarded: It was recognized as Fortune’s No. 16 Best Workplace for Millennials, No. 5 Best Workplace in Financial Services and Insurance, and No. 17 Best Workplace for Giving Back. In 2017 it was ranked #3 on People Magazine’s Companies That Care.

In addition to caring about its workers, the company continues its mission to enhance the lives of its customers in many ways.

For instance, in 2019 it implemented Mental Health and PTSD initiatives nationwide with a new division staffed with helpful professionals who assist homebuyers with their transition to a new home. 

So grab a thermos of hot cocoa and/or coffee and dash to this de-light-full drive before it’s lights out for it!

Read about another organization in Missouri that’s also dedicated to enhancing the lives of veterans here.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.