Monday, January 26, 2009

Kansas City's Plaza Lights

It's been almost 30 years since I visited the Kansas City area to interview for my first job. Although I knew only one person here beforehand, I immediately liked my potential supervisor. He then took me on a tour through some of the city's best known neighborhoods, and the Spanish-style Country Club Plaza shopping district immediately captured my heart.

But I discovered the Plaza's true magic during my first holiday season as a resident. Imagine a Spanish village replete with multiple hand-carved fountains, dozens of brightly painted ceramic wall murals and red tile roofs on every building - and then line them with thousands upon thousands of twinkling holiday lights. When I took a carriage ride with a friend as lazy little snowflakes dusted the street and buildings, the Plaza truly resembled a fairyland.

Each Thanksgiving eve since my first, a local celebrity has flipped a single switch so that 100,000 lights sparkle in the darkness as the holiday season begins. Then, as Plaza visitors buy holiday gifts and lift glasses of champagne at the New Year, the lights add magic to each moment.

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