Jackson County’s Christmas in the Park shines brightly, now through New Year’s Eve
On Wednesday, Nov. 24th, over a million lights will turn on for Jackson County’s Christmas in the Park.
Now in its 34th year, the free event set a record in 2020 with more than 350,000 people driving through the festive light show.
The magic begins prepping in late September, when a crew of 20 associates starts building out the holiday experience. From the design phase to installation, the process stays in-house at the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department, says John Johnson, Superintendent of Park Operations.
Cumulatively, it takes his staff thousands of hours before every light is twinkling just right.
“Christmas in the Park is Jackson County’s gift to the community,” says Michelle Newman, Director of the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department. She notes that Jackson County has donated over 1 million dollars to 1,000 local charities over the past three decades.
Donations are accepted at the end as cars exit.
Holiday light installations can be found all over Kansas City, but Christmas in the Park shines brightly with a focus on quality. From Santa Claus barbecuing on the grill to the new “spheres of cheer” found at the entrance, the light displays look brand new, no doubt due to Jackson County’s decision to convert from incandescent to LED bulbs. That process began four years ago and now 99% of the lights are LED.
Angie Jeffries, Director of Communications for Jackson County, offers some advice: “Come during a weeknight instead of a weekend or holiday.”
COVID-19 might have pushed attendance to record highs last year, but Johnson is confident the display will continue to draw ever-growing crowds. “This is such a deeply embedded family tradition and event,” he says. “It’s the living embodiment of why the Parks department is here.”
Christmas in the Park opens on November 24th and closes on December 31st. For more information visit the Jackson County website.