As Thanksgiving approached this year, my girlfriend and I had several discussions about our traditions.  Her traditions included a big meal with turkey and all the fixings.  We made all those foods over the last few days.  We toted them up to my family’s house yesterday and had a great meal.  It wrapped up just in time to head home for my Thanksgiving tradition.

For a majority of the last twenty years my Thanksgiving nights have been spent watching Christmas lights with tens of thousands of friends and neighbors.  Thanksgiving night in Kansas City is when people gather to watch the Country Club Plaza turn into a beautiful, glowing, masterpiece.  With the flip of one switch, the twenty or so square blocks of The Plaza become illuminated.  The countries oldest automobile inspired shopping district becomes even more beautiful.  This tradition has been happening for at least twice as long as I have been alive and is one of the great things about Kansas City.

I will see the lights turn on thirty or so more times before they leave them off in January.  I live and work in the neighborhood.  In a few days it will just be the reason traffic drives me crazy.  I am certain that any number of censored rants will eventually include “those damn lights.”  For one night though it is magical.  Last night I took a camera with me to capture what makes it so magical.  Neither the camera nor my photo skills were strong enough to capture the sense of the moment.  I still thought I would share a little of my tradition with all of you.

(Click on any picture to see it in full size)

For weeks this is what the lights have looked like

Before the lights it is still very pretty

And then they flip the switch

It is very difficult to photograph fireworks

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Come back tomorrow for another installment of weird restaurant stories.  For some daytime pictures of The Plaza, check out my review of the 2010 Plaza Art Fair.  For some great aerial photographs of the lighting ceremony, check out the KCTV5 slideshow.

 

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