The Northeast Johnson County holiday season kicks off in earnest Thursday with ceremonial tree lightings in Prairie Village and Westwood, and festivities in other communities continuing through the weekend and into next week.
The Prairie Village 31st Annual Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Corinth Square Shops. Mayor Laura Wassmer will be joined by Santa Claus, Dancerz Unlimited, the Shawnee Mission East Drum Line and special guest KC Wolf.
Hot chocolate and treats will be provided and the Corinth and Village Shopping Center shops will hold holiday open house events throughout the day and evening. The event is sponsored by the city, Corinth Square and the Prairie Village Foundation.
The Mayor’s Tree Lighting event also raises money to help the needy identified by Johnson County Human Services and Heartland Habitat for Humanity. Donations can be sent to the Prairie Village Foundation or at the event.
That same evening, Westwood will be holding its Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting event at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Santa also will be on hand to hear children’s wish lists and light refreshments will be served.
On Friday, the holiday action moves on to Mission.
The Holiday Lights and Festive Sights and Free Family Fun Night will be held at the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center from 5 to 8 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be there along with live music, roasting s’mores, horse-drawn carriage rides and more.
Saturday, it’s Merriam’s turn. The annual Sundown with Santa and tree-lighting event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Merriam Marketplace, 5740 Merriam Dr. The event includes games, music, hot cocoa and of course, a chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Holiday shoppers can also enjoy the Holiday Farmer’s Market in downtown Overland Park at the Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty St. on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The one-day event allows shoppers to buy farm-fresh winter produce and holiday gift items.
The holiday fun continues Tuesday when Roeland Park holds its Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. in Sweany Park, located at Neosho and Wells. Children from Roesland and St. Agnes elementary schools will ring in the season with traditional music.
The Roeland Park event also will welcome Santa Claus, and treats will be served: hot cocoa and cookies.
Rounding out the holiday kickoff events will be the Fairway Canes, Cocoa and a Claus event Dec. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Shawnee Indian Mission, 3403 W. 53rd St. It’s free and open to the public.
Visitors are urged to bring a flashlight to participate in a candy cane hunt for kids ages 10 and under. Children must be accompanied by a parent. After the hunt, kids will have a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Cookies and hot cocoa also will be served.
While you’re there, Christmas trees and holiday trim will be sold at the Second Annual Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation Christmas Tree Sale in collaboration with Boy Scout Troop 192. Proceeds will be shared between the foundation and the scouts.
Finally, holiday tree lighting ceremonies already have been held in Mission Woods, Mission Hills and Downtown Overland Park. Enjoy those trees while you’re making the neighborhood rounds looking at holiday lights.