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Alex Smith and Derrick Johnson will Flip the Switch at the 88th Annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony

Posted Nov 17, 2017

5–6 p.m.: KCP&L pre-show performances and giveaways from the main stage

6–7 p.m.: KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony (broadcast LIVE on KSHB-TV)

6:54 p.m.: Flip of the Switch by Derrick Johnson and Alex Smith, followed by fireworks

7–8 p.m.: Post-ceremony concert featuring The Elders

Follow the festivities live at KCP&L Plaza Lights on Facebook, Country Club Plaza on Facebook and Instagram, and @ThePlazaKC on Twitter




The 88th annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony returns to the Country Club Plaza on Thanksgiving Day to kick off the holiday season in Kansas City. This year, the KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony will feature honorary guests Derrick Johnson and Alex Smith to help “Flip the Switch” and transform the Plaza into a magical holiday destination.

“The KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony is one of Kansas City’s finest traditions,” said Meredith Keeler, general manager of the Country Club Plaza. “We take great pride in hosting such a beloved event and being a place where so many friends and families come to gather each year.”

This is the 18th year that KCP&L has presented this long-standing Kansas City tradition.

“We look forward every year to being part of this community celebration that makes Thanksgiving in Kansas City so memorable,” said Chuck Caisley, KCP&L vice president of marketing and public affairs. “To see the Plaza glowing with the colors of the season is truly remarkable.”

KSHB-TV’s Gary Lezak will serve as emcee and 41 Action News anchors Rhiannon Ally and Mike Marusarz will broadcast live, along with others from the 41 Action News team. The ceremony takes place on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 23, from 6–7 p.m. on the Country Club Plaza.

The 2017 honored guests to help flip the switch are Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Derrick Johnson. Smith, a 13-year veteran, is in his fifth season with the Chiefs. He is a proud father, husband and generous philanthropist, founding The Alex Smith Foundation to help foster teens achieve academic success. Johnson has spent his entire 13-year career with the Chiefs. He lives in Kansas City with his fiancé and is actively involved in local charities and the Derrick Johnson’s Defend the Dream Foundation, which provides low-income and inner city youth with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential.  

“I’m honored to have this opportunity,” said Smith. “This is a great Kansas City tradition. And my family and I couldn't be more excited to help light up the Plaza with the Kansas City community and kick off the start of the holiday season.”

"I know what the KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony means to Kansas City, and to be a part of it this year, with family, friends and teammates standing near, is very special," said Johnson.

In addition to special guests Derrick Johnson and Alex Smith, this year’s ceremony features performances by some of the Kansas City region’s most notable performers. The KCP&L main show will feature performances by Casi Joy, Isaac Cates and Ordained, Blue Valley High School Chamber Singers, KC A Cappella, the KCP&L Plaza Lights singers and dancers and The Elders. The evening will come to a close with fireworks and another performance by local favorite band, The Elders.

More About The 88th Annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony

The lighting program begins at 6 p.m., with the flip of the switch at 6:54 p.m. Three simultaneous fireworks displays will take place immediately after the Flip of the Switch: near the stage at Nichols and Pennsylvania (above Burberry); on Broadway (above Helzberg); and atop the InterContinental Hotel. 

The ceremony main stage will once again be located on Nichols Road and Pennsylvania, near Brio Tuscan Grille and Burberry.

Best views of the ceremony stage will be in the Nichols and Pennsylvania intersection, and along Nichols Road between Pennsylvania and Broadway. Several nearby garages will provide free parking close to the stage.

Recommended nearby parking garages include Valencia Garage (by Gap and H&M) on the north side of 47th and Pennsylvania; Neptune Garage on Wornall near 46th Street; Seville Garage (near The Capital Grille and Bank of America) behind the main stage on Jefferson and Nichols Road; and the Plaza III Garage near Victoria’s Secret on Pennsylvania.

The KCP&L Plaza Lights shine daily from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Thanksgiving through Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. All Plaza parking garages will be open and accessible throughout the KCP&L Plaza Lights season. 

Follow the Country Club Plaza on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all season long to stay connected with Plaza Lighting Ceremony details, holiday trivia, contests and promotions.

Partnership Details

KCP&L is thrilled to bring this beloved family tradition to Kansas City for the 18th year in a row. KCP&L employee volunteers will be raising money for the Salvation Army’s Season of Giving. Listen for that familiar sound of jingling bells. 

KSHB-TV is the broadcast partner for the lighting ceremony. KSHB-TV will broadcast live from the Plaza starting with the evening newscast at 4 p.m., with the full hourlong ceremony shown in its entirety from 6–7 p.m. They will also air a ‘behind the scenes’ special Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 6:30 p.m.

The hanging of the KCP&L Plaza Lights is handled exclusively by Capital Electric. The crew installs the lights from August to Thanksgiving and completes the removal by March.

Harvest Productions returns for its eighth year to produce the live entertainment for the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, creating a show that features up-and-coming, renowned talent, all with Kansas City roots.

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