First Look: Plaza lights to shine for 93rd year

Information on the lighting ceremony Thanksgiving night
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 5:34 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - It’s one of the most beloved traditions in Kansas City: The annual Country Club Plaza Lighting Ceremony.

It’s just two days away, and organizers say this is a particularly special year.

“Not every day that you turn 100 years old,” Kendra Goodman, marketing and sponsorship manager of the Plaza, said. “So we are very excited, very proud that the property’s been here so long, and that it’s so loved by everybody in Kansas City.”

This year marks the Plaza’s centennial and the 93rd year of the Plaza Lights.

Eighty miles of lights have been inspected one-by-one and are officially ready for their big moment Thursday night.

The pre-lighting ceremony starts at 5 p.m., with the full ceremony getting underway at 6 p.m.

The event will feature performances by Quixotic and other live groups, including The Elders.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, will officially flip the switch at 6:52 p.m. sharp

“Last year it was the 100th anniversary of the baseball museum, and then this year with Buck O’Neil getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, it made Bob Kendrick just the perfect person to flip that switch,” said Elizabeth Danforth, director of corporate social impact for Evergy.

“Oh, so many nerves,” Goodman said. “Obviously you want to make the big moment the big moment. But the Plaza electric team does a really good job. They do a couple test runs ahead of time to make sure that the lights will, in fact, come on.”

The lights will turn on every night of the holiday season from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.. They’ll stay on a couple more weeks into February in honor of the Plaza’s 100th year.

“It’s a little bit longer this year, because of the Plaza’s 100th anniversary, so really we tell people to come down anytime,” Danforth said. “It’s really just a beautiful, beautiful tradition for the region.”