Kansas City’s holiday season officially underway with 90th year of Plaza lighting

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Even Mother Nature couldn’t stop thousands from getting some holiday cheer as the Plaza lights took center stage Thanksgiving night.

The Kansas City tradition is now in its 90th year and for many of the people attending, they say the moment never gets old.

Adrian Lewis is one of the many Kansas citians who attended the event Thursday night.

“It’s probably the signature event in the city,” Lewis said.

Since 1930s’ the Plaza lights, have brought tens of thousands of holiday lovers to watch one of the areas most popular places, light up cheer while also lighting memories and nostalgia.

“I think most people sit there watch through thanksgiving. The lights come on, and then you put up your tree,” Lewis said. “It has a different meaning for a lot of reasons this year. I have my wife and daughter with me, and a lot of personal reasons but it means a lot to me to be here right now with them.”

The lore of the lights reaches far and wide. One mother-daughter duo, originally from Jefferson City are rookie watchers.

“We’ve heard about it all of our lives, and finally it worked out to where we could do it together, just the two of us today,” Deb Reinertsen said.

“I put my tree up, but I haven’t decorated it yet. After we see the lights, I’ll have more things to put on it,” Deb’s mother said.

For months, crews have been working around the clock, hanging the lights, and checking them twice.

“People have memories of either watching it, being here, and I think its just got a special place in everybody, I think Kansas City’s heart,” Kacey Vena said, with the Country Club Plaza.

Even with gray gloomy rain, hanging over the event, it may have dampened the streets but not the Christmas spirit of those here.

There has only been one year since this tradition began that the lights were not lit. That was back in 1973 when then President Richard Nixon called for Christmas lights to be turned off because of the gas shortage.

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