A new centerpiece, and one last turn for Shaffer, at Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting

The big new tree will sit at the southwest corner of Corinth Square through the first of the year.
The big new tree will sit at the southwest corner of Corinth Square through the first of the year.

Ron Shaffer’s 15th and final stint overseeing the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony in Prairie Village came with a big, shiny new centerpiece.

This year, the Corinth Merchants had a 20-foot artificial tree installed on the southwest corner of the shopping center to serve as the focal point for the annual celebration. The tree replaces a live pine that was planted as part of the renovations of the centers in 2012, but that failed to thrive on the site.

Shaffer was assisted in entertaining the crowd before the flipping of the switch by dancers from Dancerz Unlimited and the Corinth Elementary choir. Prairie Village City Councilor Steve Noll thanked the crowd for attending, and noted Shaffer’s coming move to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners after his election to the District 1 seat last month.

“Maybe we ought to have a Johnson County holiday tree,” Noll said. “And we could have the ceremony right here in Prairie Village.”

Santa arrived in style, as usual, this year in a maroon Corvette. He was assisted with the honors of lighting the tree by SM East head football coach Dustin Delaney, fresh off of the school’s first-ever state football title, and his daughters:

Donations made during the event are going to the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Fund, which provides money for home maintenance, paying utilities and food assistance for Prairie Village residents in need. Several Prairie Village restaurants — BRGR, Johnny’s Tavern, The Salty Iguana, SPIN!, Tavern in the Village, and Urban Table — donated a portion of their proceeds from Thursday to the fund.

A police escorted help ensure Santa's Corvette arrived safely.
A police escorted help ensure Santa’s Corvette arrived safely.
Councilor Steve Noll thanked Shaffer for his years of service to the city.
Councilor Steve Noll thanked Shaffer for his years of service to the city.
Two dance troupes from Dancerz Unlimited performed.
Two dance troupes from Dancerz Unlimited performed.
Football coach Dustin Delaney said he was excited to see young kids in the crowd "I know we'll be coaching one day."
Football coach Dustin Delaney said he was excited to see young kids in the crowd “I know we’ll be coaching one day.”

Dickens Carolers warmed up the crowd.
Dickens Carolers warmed up the crowd.
Prairie Village resident Michael Kaminski with his dogs, Fancy and Annie, all in full holiday attire.
Prairie Village resident Michael Kaminski with his dogs, Fancy and Annie, all in full holiday attire.