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Serving: MO

See the lights this holiday season

Visit KC A holiday lights display in a park at night
MERRY AND BRIGHT: Holiday lights can be found in the country and the city. This year, consider piling the family in the car and visiting Christmas in the Park in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
A Missouri town celebrates 33 years of free holiday lights displays in the park.

Christmas lights often are the first signs of the holiday season. Our daughters complained because we never hung festive outdoor lights. Living in the country, it seemed like a wasted effort. That all changed with a star.

Instead of being a humbug, I convinced my husband to park the stock trailer in front of the barn and hang a lighted star on the side before our daughters came home. They squealed with excitement. We hung that one star for many years. With the stock trailer and the girls away from the farm, the tradition faded.

However, thanks to modern technology, we still welcome them home with barn lights. Now a laser shows red and green Christmas trees dancing across the barn façade. They still squeal.

With so many of us feeling so heavy this year, I think it is time to lift our spirits with bright lights. If you can’t hang some around your farm, then drive to town and check out the neighborhood.

Better yet, if you have kids and want to see their eyes light up, consider a family road trip to Lee’s Summit, Mo. This town is carrying on a tradition 33 years in the making.

The annual Christmas in the Park offers a look at more than 500,000 twinkling lights and 175 animated figures. In the comfort of your heated car with snacks in tow, your family will travel through a light tunnel and past Santa, snowmen, reindeer and a few palm trees. This may be one of those socially distanced holiday season events that becomes a tradition.

Christmas in the Park runs from Thanksgiving Day through the start of 2021. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. The display runs through 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and it is open until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The best part? Christmas in the Park is free. It is hosted by the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department. However, it is the time of giving, so the department accepts donations.

All the money is distributed to 36 local charities in the Kansas City region. Since 1987, the event has raised more than $1 million.

Christmas in the Park is located at 901 SW Longview Park Drive, Lee Summit, Mo. Put that address in your phone’s maps app and brighten the holidays, not just for yourself, but also for others.

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