Lee’s Summit mayor feels like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with 2018 tree lighting

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Christmas movies are something most of us enjoy every year, but for the mayor of Lee's Summit, it's a part of his life every day. He's a holiday binge watcher of one holiday classic, and says it really is a wonderful life.

With this year's early snowfall it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Lee's Summit, but for Mayor Bill Baird, it looks like Christmas every day. His office full of memorabilia of the film "It's a Wonderful Life." From framed photos, books, plates, posters, and props to miniature displays of the fictional Bedford Falls, New York, where the film is set.

"I call it magical. It's a magical movie," Baird said.

He still can't get over how the movie made him feel when he saw it at 15 years old.

"Every time it was on I couldn't stop watching it," Baird said. "It was mesmerizing. Just because of the details of the movie, and how each person's life affects so many others."

"He loves what the movie brings to individuals lives, and the elements throughout the whole movie that you watch the main character go through," his wife, Hillory Baird said.

His collection is something he's worked on for years, and Baird says, it reminds him about what is important in life each day.

"I felt like this was a roadmap for how you should live your life," Mayor Baird said. "And then, there's the fact that we have Karolyn Grimes 'Zuzu' coming to town, and what a better way to kick off your holiday season?"

In his first tree lighting as mayor he will get to flip the switch with the girl who let the world know when a bell rings another angel gets it's wings.

"It will probably be one of the most special things he's ever done," Hillory Baird said. "Getting to be a part of this community that we love, and then having this iconic person come to be a part of a great tradition we have in the Lee's Summit downtown. It's going to mean the world to him."

"I've always loved the movie, but now that I'm mayor and to think about the community coming together at the end of the movie, man, that's that`s the kind of community we have and we aspire to be," Mayor Baird said.

The tree lighting will be on Friday, November 16th in Howard Stanton Park at 6:30 p.m. If you would like the chance to meet Karolyn Grimes there are two opportunities for you.

  • Friday, November 16th at Smoke Brewing Company from 7-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 17th at Red Door Wine Store from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information on the tree lighting visit the City of Lee's Summit website here.