Published November 24th, 2021 at 10:34 AM
The holidays are officially here and the season kicks off with a long weekend full of light displays, live music and latkes.
5 – 8 p.m. Kansas City’s crown jewel Thanksgiving night tradition returns as an in-person party on the Country Club Plaza for the 2021 Evergy Plaza Lighting Ceremony, 4706 Broadway Blvd. The free celebration starts with pre-lighting live music, performances and giveaways before members of the Kansas City Current professional women’s soccer club flip the switch for the 92nd time at 6:52 p.m. sharp. Stick around for fireworks and a performance from Summer Breeze. Be sure to bundle up.
8 p.m. Thanksgiving with The Schwag is back for another Turkey Day at the Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway Blvd. Once stomachs have settled, grab your rock and roll-loving family members for the Grateful Dead tribute group’s annual show. All ages are welcome. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available starting at $15.
11 a.m. The first Penguin March of the season will ring in the holidays Friday morning at the Kansas City Zoo, 6800 Zoo Drive. Be in position by 11 a.m. to watch the zoo’s penguins stretch their legs and parade around the Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The up close experience only lasts 15 minutes. Starting Dec. 4, the penguins will march each Saturday and Sunday through Feb. 25. Zoo admission is $15-$18 for non-Jackson County residents. County resident tickets are $7.50-$9.50.
4 – 8 p.m. The Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair and the City Market are joining forces to stage an open-air European-style holiday market in the historic vending space at 5th and Walnut streets. Stop by the Merry Market for goodies by carefully selected makers, street food and performers, plenty of holiday cheer, special drinks and more. The local shopping experience is free to attend.
5 – 10 p.m. Anyone entertaining guests can get out of the house for a festive family stroll with a Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8908 W. 179th St. Colorfully illuminated pathways allow visitors to explore the quiet woods as well as gnome and fairy villages. Holiday music and Santa’s Woodland Depot should provide the seasonal cheer. Tickets are $15 per person. Children under the age of 5 get in for free.
5:30 – 9 p.m. Westport Italian restaurant Ragazza, 4301 Main St., will say farewell to its Live Music Saturday series for the season Saturday afternoon with a Friendsgiving Finale. Vocalist Daisy Buckët and keyboardist Tim Braselton will provide the tunes to go along with Italian fare and pours from the wine bar. Reservations are highly encouraged.
6 – 10 p.m. There’s a new drive-thru winter wonderland in place at Wyandotte County Park, 600 N. 126 St. Load up the car and head to the Holiday Light and Magic display near Azura Amphitheater for augmented reality experiences, humongous displays and dazzling lights. Tickets are $25 per car on the weekends. Be sure to reserve a scheduled entry time in advance.
8 – 10 p.m. Get your weekend giggles in Saturday night with Thanksgiving Pageant: A Throwback Comedy Show, presented by What Up Nerds? The night of “throwback high school comedy” is set for Barrel of the Bottoms, 1427 W. 9th St., where proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required. Audience members are invited to dress up in their best high school costumes. The show is 21 and up. Tickets are $10 in advance online and $15 at the door.
10 a.m. Potato Latkes, Sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and beer? The Hanukkah Family Brunch at Crane Brewing Co., 6515 Railroad St., will have a little bit of everything. Along with food and beer, the celebration will feature lessons in Hanukkah traditions and plenty of space to spin the dreidel. If you aren’t Jewish or know nothing about Hanukkah, no problem. All are welcome. The brunch is free to attend.
6:30 – 8 p.m. KC Wine Co. and KC Pumpkin Patch have officially transformed their space into KC Winter Wonderland, 13875 S. Gardner Road. Friends and families will have the opportunity to snap a pic with Santa during his visit from the North Pole, walk about light displays and enjoy holiday-themed drinks and snacks available for purchase from KC Wine Co. The ticketed experience is $12 per person.
Noon – 8 p.m. Electric Park Garden Bar is open at J. Rieger & Co. Distillery, 2700 Guinotte Ave. The East Bottoms’ newest hangout from J. Rieger offers plenty of space to spread out to enjoy spirits and small plates on the heated outdoor patio, nestled between the railroad tracks and historic distillery. Fire tables, swing tables and a patio pergola are available for group reservations.
Flatland contributor Clarence Dennis also is a social media manager for 90.9 The Bridge.