Plaza Lights shine bright for 93rd year

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 10:11 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - It’s a Thanksgiving night tradition that has drawn people in droves to the Country Club Plaza.

It’s about more than the 80 miles of multicolored lights outlining the Spanish-style architecture.

The ceremony is a seasonal tradition for many, but that’s not the only tradition for families who attended.

“We got married in January,” said Ashley Lewallen. “So, I would say our new one is trying to figure out which house we’re going to and when we’re going to leave so we can get to the next one.”

“That was a big adjustment,” responded her husband, James Lewallen. “And now, she’s joined us on our tradition. We go down to the Kansas City Repertory Theater and go to their presentation of A Christmas Carol.”

The lighting was preceded by a performance from Quixotic.

This year Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick did the honors of flipping the switch, which set 15 blocks of the shopping and dining district alight.

“This has been an amazing year with Buck O’Neil’s induction and all of the things that they’ve been able to do with the Negro Leagues Museum,” said DeAngela Burns-Wallace. “I’m excited for what their future is and excited to have him here tonight.”

Fireworks lit up the sky after the lighting.

The event comes on a day when people stuff themselves full of turkey and take a moment to think of what they’re thankful for.

“I’m definitely thankful for all the wonderful people I’ve met. There’s a lot of great people I’ve met,” said 14-year-old Xavier Burns-Wallace.

“We’re thankful for our friends and our family and just the time to be able to get away. We’re from Oklahoma,” said Mike Gorrell.

KC is a special spot for him and his wife, because it is where they spent their first night after their marriage 49 years ago. They married in Topeka, stayed the night in Kansas City at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, then hopped a flight from KCI for a tropical honeymoon.

“It’s one of our favorite getaways, to come Kansas City,” said Bonnie Gorrell.

The lights will be on from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. through early January.