Lights On - Lights Off (01-12-15)
After 85 years of turning on the Plaza Christmas Lights, January 18, 2015 will represent the 85th year of turning them off...that is until the next lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving night.
In 1925 a maintenance worker hung a strand of 16 lights to brighten one building. Five years later, the first official Plaza Lighting Ceremony was born.
The weather may be warm or it may require heavy coats, mittens and snow boots. But, Mother Nature doesn’t stop the thousands of people from flocking to the streets on Thanksgiving night to listen to the musical celebration and see the first glimpse of the Kansas City iconic display. Some people even include the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in their holiday tradition to catch the testing of the lights between 2am and 5 am.
Only one year, in 1973, did the lighting not occur. In that year, President Nixon asked America to refrain from Christmas lights due to the dependency on foreign oil. Kansas City obliged the Commander-In-Chief and didn’t turn on the lights.
Over the years that one strand of 16 lights on one building has grown to about 280,000 lights and numerous buildings. A one man, one ladder job now takes an entire crew and months of work. But to those who are there for the lighting or any night thereafter – the work is worth the beauty.