Mission festival Saturday kicks off a holiday season filled with tree lightings and hot chocolate

The Mayor’s Tree Lighting returns to Prairie Village Thursday.

Now that we have Thanksgiving out of the way, take a deep breath and let’s move on to the next holiday celebration.

The season starts Saturday evening in Mission where the annual Holiday Lights and Festive Sights event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. along Johnson Drive. The location for the celebration moves east down the drive this year, though, to the spot where the Mission Farm and Flower Market was held this summer, closer to the intersection with Reeds Road.

Many of the usual features will be back this year: the fire pits, s’mores, hot chocolate and, naturally the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus who will visit with children from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The horse-drawn carriage rides also will be offered starting at 5:15 p.m., right after Mayor Steve Schowengerdt greets Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The mayor’s tree lighting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Children’s crafts will be available all evening and the SM North and Bishop Miege choirs will be part of an evening of music.

The season doesn’t slow down after Mission kicks off its festival. Here are the upcoming opportunities to join the celebration around NEJC:

Merriam – The Sundown with Santa and mayor’s tree lighting will take place at the Merriam Marketplace starting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5. The event features, games, carolers, hot chocolate, snacks and the tree lighting. The same night is the Downtown Merriam Partnership Christmas Dinner at the Community Center.

Prairie Village – The mayor’s holiday tree lighting will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Corinth Square. Hot chocolate, treats and music will be part of the 30th anniversary of the tree lighting.

Westwood – The mayor’s holiday tree lighting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 3, at city hall. This year a new feature is a cookie baking contest. Participants should bring two dozen cookies to city hall by 5 p.m. on the day of the ceremony.

Roeland Park – The tree lighting will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1, at Sweeney Park. The city also has a holiday outdoor decorating contest that will be judged on Dec. 16. Applications for the decorating contest should be submitted at city hall by Dec. 15.

Fairway – The second annual Canes, Cocoa and a ‘Claus’ will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Shawnee Indian Mission. A candy cane hunt will be held for children 10 and under accompanied by an adult. Cookies, cocoa and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus will follow. Christmas trees also are on sale at the Mission again in collaboration with Boy Scout Troop 192.