Holiday season kicks off with Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Holiday lights are popping up all over. What’s adding even more cheer is the thousands of lights in one location.

Thursday night the Plaza lighting. Wednesday night, the official kick-off of Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake.

Even though it isn’t Thanksgiving quite yet, lines and lines of cars passed through to get into the holiday spirit.

The 34th year of Christmas in the Park kicked off at 5:30 Wednesday night and before that, people were already waiting.

“We haven’t been able to do this the last couple years,” said Carrie Dixon. “So we are excited.”

In another year of disruption and change, Jackson County Parks and Recreation is keeping the holiday tradition in the Kansas City metro going.

“Every year we add an exciting new display to the Christmas in The Park experience,” said Michele Newman, Jackson County Parks Rec Director. “Last year, we expanded the dramatic lighted entrance tunnel to 100 feet. This year, we are adding even more excitement to the entrance approach with our “Spheres of Cheer,” comprised of 90 32-inch colorful, lighted spheres spanning 450 feet!”

Each car driving through the park, full of excitement, with their own favorite display.

The 175 animated displays and 600,000 lights bringing a sense of wonder and spreading cheer to people around the area and starting a new family tradition for others.

“Our Parks Rec staff is second to none,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “The talent and expertise they have to design, create and install this massive display year after year is impressive. I can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they do to keep this tradition thriving and the holiday season bright for families.”

Drivers navigating the long lines and crowded spaces but many say they don’t care.

“The night before thanksgiving, there really isn’t anything at home to do, so it’s a really great time to slow down,” said one park visitor.

Because this marks the unofficial start of the holiday season for most. With lights also comes great joy.

This is a free event but you can make donations at the end. A portion of proceeds go towards charities, including FOX4 Love Fund.

It will run through December 31.

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