Plaza Lights, from the time it was first held in 1930, has grown to become a spectacular holiday tradition in Kansas City. Held on the evening of Thanksgiving, it marks the official start of the holiday season.
Workers from the Kansas City Power and Light Company (KCP&L) utility string more than 80 miles of lights with 280,000 glittering jewel-tone bulbs for the holiday lighting display. It illuminates 15 blocks of the Spanish-inspired Country Club Plaza shopping district, outlining every dome, tower and window.
Thousands of people gather on Thanksgiving evening for the annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony, when a celebrated guest flips the switch that turns on the public lighting display that will remain on all during the year-end holiday period and into January. As the lights go on, helicopters fly overhead with people who want a close-up view of the spectacle.
The ceremony itself takes place on a huge stage situated at Nichols Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Brio and Burberry. Performers, musicians and the Plaza Lighting Ceremony orchestra perform throughout the event.
Anyone who can't make it down to see the event in person can watch it on TV. KSHB Channel 41 usually hosts the ceremony and televises it live.
Snapshot of Annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony
To confirm times and place, consult the Country Club Plaza website.
The main stage at Nichols Road and Pennsylvania Avenue,
Country Club Plaza, downtown Kansas City, Missouri
The Thursday evening of Thanksgiving, every year
Usually 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. for the full event
Pre-show entertainment: usually about 5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
Annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony: usually 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Lighting is turned on: just before 7:00 p.m. to accompanying fireworks
Post-show concert: usually 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Duration of lighting display: daily, usually from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.; through mid-January