Turning on of the Plaza Lights


My informant, from Kansas City Missouri, describes a Thanksgiving tradition in his town: “Every Thanksgiving night, Kansas City has a big thing which is the turning on of the Plaza lights. We have a big sorta commercial area/cultural center called the Plaza and they have like a million Christmas lights that stay on from November through January. But when they turn on it’s a big thing and often we try to get a local Kansas City or Missouri celebrity to do it.”


“I think it’s a source of local pride, I mean the Plaza is an important place in Kansas City and the fact that we try to get native celebrities shows that desire. There’s also like a commercial element with drawing in people and making it a big event in an area full of shops also during a time of year with shopping and stuff. It has a similar but lesser energy to like Rockefeller tree in my mind of like creating a spectacle for the holidays.”


The importance of this spectacle is that it allows the group to create a spectacle that brings pride for their town. Perhaps the people of this town want there to be something that they have that other towns may not, emphasizing what it is that makes them special. They focus on the celebrities from the town, perhaps as a way of elevating the social status of the town as a whole.