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Union Station set for grand celebration 100 years in the making

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A mainstay in the Kansas City skyline for decades will soon reach a milestone, its 100 year anniversary. Thousands of people have gone in and out of the doors at Union Station in the past 100 years. As the people gather there Friday for the kickoff to the celebration of a century, the place has meaning for some who remember this building in its glory days.

Seventy-nine-year-old security guard Leroy Glover patrols Union Station, but thinks back 60 years when a different job brought him to the same place.

“It was loaded, you could hardly walk through here. I went through here going in the Army in ‘54 to leave from here to Fort Bliss Texas, El Paso.” He remembers too, before the military, going to Union Station with family. Glover said, “I used to come down here with my parents when I was a kid, you know, they’d bring us down. My sister looked up and said, 'I didn’t know Kansas City had a top on it!'”

“This is where people said goodbye to their brothers or their sisters or their husbands or their wives before war, but it was also a place when they returned, greeting them,” Union Station President/CEO George Guastello said.

He also called Union Station a monument to determination, creativity, and to the people of Kansas City.

“Thanks to the community, they came together, they saved this building, and now it’s the grandest building. It’s Kansas City’s monument and it’s not going anywhere now,” Guastello said.

It’s a place for the old to reflect and the young to learn. What used to be the transportation gateway into the Midwest now houses a restaurant, theater and educational displays, and a gift shop.

“All the people that have walked these hollowed halls, from the troops, they remember their mothers, their fathers, but think about all the immigrants. The immigrants that walked through these doors in the 1900s looking out these magnificent windows saying, ‘I’ve come to America and I’m going to succeed.’ That’s why this building is so very important to our community,” Guastello said.

Supplementary Information from Union Station:

Q: What time do I need to get there?

A: Arrive as early as 5:00pm.

  • 5-6:30 Music & Family Fun
  • 6:30-7:30 Live Music Concert
  • 7:30-8:30 Chiefs Red Friday Pep Rally
  • 8:30 “The Monument Comes Alive” by Quixotic, Bazillion and Bic
  • 8:45 Fireworks Finale

Q: Where do I park?

A: All parking in Union Station will be open. Event fees apply ($10). Parking at the National World War I Museum is $10. Pershing will be closed, but all adjacent legal street parking is free. Haverty Bridge is open for those coming over from First Fridays in the Crossroads.

Q: Do I bring chairs or blankets?

A: Yes. Chairs and or blankets for seating are highly encouraged.

Q: Is it safe for kids?

A: Yes, this is a family friendly event.  Everyone must have an ID (21 years or older) to be served alcoholic beverages.

Q: Is food and drink available?

A: A large variety of food trucks will be available, 9 beverage locations: water, soft drinks, beer, wine, mix drinks.

Q: Does it cost anything to attend?

A: No. This is a free, non-ticketed event.

Q:  Can we bring our own food and drinks? 

A: Union Station will have a fenced perimeter allowing guests to enter and exit as they wish.  No coolers or food will be allowed in fenced area.  However, the Liberty Memorial lawn will allow for coolers/food.  Guests are allowed to enter the fenced area (no ticket required) but food and drink must remain outside of fenced area.

Q:  Is Union Station still open during the event?

A: Yes, the Station will be open during regular hours. The businesses in the Station will also be open regular hours during the event.