Evening at the Plaza

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.”

Photo Dec 06, 5 50 23 PM

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.

Photo Dec 06, 5 50 01 PM

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.

Photo Dec 06, 7 42 55 PM

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!

Photo Dec 06, 7 44 51 PM

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?

Photo courtesy of google.com

Photo courtesy of google.com

3 thoughts on “Evening at the Plaza

  1. I’m pretty sure they leave most of those lights up all year round. I’ve seen them inconspicuously clinging to the sides of the buildings during summer strolls there.

    I’m headed down there next week for dinner with friends. I hope the weather cooperates.

    • We thought for sure they would be left up year round, but the plaza website said they come down by March and go up after Labor Day! I’ll have to look closely next spring or summer to see if they are still hanging. Have a great visit next weekend, its a pretty neat place.

  2. Pingback: Thursday Thoughts: December 11 | My Brave Wings

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