Lighting up the night: Annual Country Club Plaza lighting sparks students’ interest

Hailey McEntee, Co-Editor

Lights shine brightly in red, green, blue, white and any other color imaginable.
Buildings are completely covered in shimmering bulbs. Twinkling lights illuminate the brisk night.
This is just a glimpse of the holiday atmosphere in Kansas City at the Country Club Plaza.
BV students, including sophomore Jack Carrigan, junior Chelsea Callihan and senior Mikayla Foss, among mass crowds of people, visited the Plaza to admire its famed Christmas lights.
“[My family and I] always go down on some Saturday night and go to dinner down there, and then we go see the lights,” Carrigan said.
He said going to see the lights is a great experience during the holidays.
“They’re really neat, and I think it is one of the main things people can do in Kansas [City],” he said. “There’s not much else to do besides going to see the Plaza lights. It’s a big thing to do in Kansas [City], and I feel like it kind of represents the whole Kansas City area, and we are proud of it.”
Carrigan said he recommends people go see the lights.
“It’s a great thing to go do,” he said. “I am kind of amazed when I see the lights. I’m just amazed about how many there are and all the colors.”
Callihan went to the Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving.
“It was my first time going,” she said. “My parents kind of dragged me out there, and I didn’t really want to go, but I ended up loving it. I would definitely recommend for others to go see the lights.”
Callihan said when the lights were turned on, the feeling was indescribable.
“It was really happy,” she said. “It was uplifting — it’s kind of hard to explain. Just seeing all the lights and all the singing and people dancing was great. It was pretty crazy. Everyone was happy and having fun.”
Foss had the opportunity to dance on stage at the Plaza Lighting event.
“My studio did it last year and they really liked what we did and got good feedback from it, so they asked us to come back this year,” she said. “We were asked to do the pre-show, so we just danced for like 15 minutes. And then, [my dance studio’s] teachers were in the actual show so that was actu- ally on TV — the pre-show was just seen by the people who were actually there at the Plaza.”
Foss said the dance rehearsal schedule was crazy.
“The night before Thanksgiving, we had to run through the entire show about 15 times to make sure it was perfect for the event,” she said. “The rehearsal leading up to it was the most stressful part, but performing made it all worth it.”
Foss said performing in front of such a big crowd made her a little nervous.
“I wasn’t nervous at first because I have performed and done dance competitions and stuff since I was like eight years old,” she said. “But then, when I got on stage and real- ized how many people were there — I had definitely never performed in front of an audience that big — I got nervous at that point, but it was a good nervous.”
Foss said she felt in the holiday spirit while dancing at the Plaza Lighting.
“For the holidays, I usually think of it as a time to spend with family,” she said. “The people I dance with are practi- cally like family to me, so being on stage with them was amazing.”
Foss said the atmosphere backstage was hectic.
“You had to be on time for every little thing and we had a couple of quick changes, so there was a lot of running around and a lot of people directing you where to go,” she said.
Foss said seeing the lights turn on in person was a memorable experience.
“I’ve always watched [the lighting] on TV every year, but it’s a completely different experience to actually see it in person,” she said. “I just think it was so much more memorable to see them all go on at once in real life, instead of just seeing it from in my living room.”
Foss said when she thinks of the holidays, she thinks of all the Christmas lights.
“I always think of all the pretty lit up houses and driving around to see the houses with the best lights,” she said. “All the lights at the plaza just really get me excited and ready for the holidays.”