James’ parents came to town this weekend, and while they were here, we went to see the Country Club Plaza to see the Christmas lights. Since we moved to KC, I’d heard people talk about the Plaza Lights over the holidays, and we knew we wanted to check it out!
I did some reading about the Plaza and the lights when we got home, it’s pretty interesting! I had no idea, first of all, that this has been a tradition since the 1930s! From the Plaza website:
“In 1925, Charles Pitrat, head of the Nichols Company maintenance operation, placed a single six-foot strand of sixteen colored light bulbs across the doorway of the Suydam building, the Plaza’s first building. …The tradition grew just the way the Plaza did. As buildings were added, so were lights. When the Plaza Theatre was completed in 1928, Pitrat strung lights across 47th Street to reach the theater building. The next year he outlined the buildings and towers with lights. And so it went, adding more lights to frame more buildings. Putting up those first lights took one man and a ladder. The chore is definitely more difficult today.”
We also saw quite a few horse drawn carriages that had lights on them, it reminded me of Cinderella! We were even lucky enough to see Carriage Ride Picketers on a couple corners.
We were very surprised, also, to learn that the lights are taken down every spring and put back up every fall, and the bulbs are checked and tested daily to ensure they are all in working order. I couldn’t find the number of lights anywhere online, but there have got to be tens of thousands of lights! We mostly walked around and watched the people shopping and the lights, but we also ate at Panera and did a little shopping.
The plaza lights are on Visit KC’s list of Holiday Attractions, and I would definitely agree with them, it was really cool to see all the lights and people shopping, it was very festive, and definitely put me in the Holiday mood!
I definitely think seeing the Plaza lights will become a holiday tradition for us! Do you have any city-specific holiday traditions? Have you seen the KC Plaza Christmas lights?