The Holidays Come Early to the “Christmas City of the High Plains!”

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first tree lighting and we’re kicking off the festivities early with a look into the past as we prepare for the future during “Christmas in July!”

106296983_2734406306796901_1376741046274547706_o

Putting the Shine on Christmas

Over the past few weeks, members of our community have gathered together to clean up and refurbish the decorations that have turned Downtown WaKeeney into a glittering holiday spectacle every December since 1950.

82865327_2734406490130216_756141213037955245_o

The 24 original, handmade bells and 14 wreaths that decorate our streets each year are stored throughout the room in the “Christmas Room” in the City Building. Recently, a group of volunteers spent the two evenings cleaning and painting them to put the shine back on when they greet our guests at the 70th anniversary event of the “Christmas City of the High Plains.” They are just one piece of the beautiful display that brings people from all over the world to our town every Christmas Season.

Throughout the years, we’ve added even more to the display, which now boasts 1100-yards of greenery, additional decorations, 6,800 red, yellow, blue, and green lights, and the new LED perimeter lights installed in 2018 that decorate Downtown WaKeeney all year long!

1950's Christmas Tree

Photo provided by Trego County Historical Society Museum.

Christmas, Past and Present

When our four-square block Christmas display was first revealed in 1950, newspapers from Kansas and Colorado visited our town to cover the grand presentation. The Hays Daily News, Wichita Beacon, Topeka Capital, Wichita Eagle, and the Denver Post all attended the inaugural ceremony, capturing the beauty in photographs to share with their readers. They nicknamed WaKeeney “The Christmas City of Kansas” and the “Christmas Decorations City,” giving it the distinction of being a “must see” holiday experience.

IMG_3823

Photo provided by Trego County Historical Society Museum.

 

The Trego County Historical Society Museum has joined the “Christmas in July” celebration with an exhibit that celebrates our tree and it’s history. Fourteen Christmas trees are currently on display, and each month an additional fourteen trees will be added until there are 70 Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes in the museum. Included in the collection is a replica of the first Christmas tree that was made to scale and donated by Sylvia Sherfick.

Current and former residents of our community are invited to be a part of the exhibition by sharing their treasured photographs or memories of past tree lightning ceremonies. Contact the Historical Society Museum for more information.

Celebrating the 70thAnniversary of WaKeeney’s Christmas Tree

Don’t forget to order your official anniversary t-shirt. The “Too Lit to Quit” t-shirts can be preordered now at the Bonfire online store. (They come in grey/black, blue, purple, red, and Christmas green, with the official 70th anniversary and the “Too Lit to Quit” logos printed in white. The shirts can be ordered as a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt, in sizes Youth, to 3XL and they can be shipped to your home or they can be picked up at Malay’s Market. The proceeds from the shirts will go toward the construction of a new Santa House in North Pole Park.

109522644_2753991018171763_5100580887165220971_o

Photo provide by the Trego County Historical Society Museum.

The Holiday Spirt is Alive and Well in WaKeeney, Kansas

For 70 years, WaKeeney has been the “Christmas City of the High Plains.” The traditions, memories, and good tidings our tree has provided our community and its visitors is at the center of a six-month celebration that will be remembered for years to come. Join us in celebrating “Christmas in July” and meet us under the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 28, 2020!

 

 

Taking the “Christmas City of the High Plains” Into the Future

The work is already underway to install new LED Color-Changing Lights from Inception Lighting along the buildings of Downtown WaKeeney and soon our famous Christmas Festival will be brighter than ever, thanks to those who have contributed to the “Get Lit” campaign!

Christmas in July

Fundraising Efforts Turn on the Lights in Downtown WaKeeney

Through continued fundraising efforts, several generous donations from local citizens and businesses, sales of our campaign t-shirts and a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, these new LED Color-Changing Lights will be ready to light up the “Christmas City of the High Plains” in just a few short weeks from now! The City of WaKeeney is donating the labor to install the lights as well as the utility costs and Nex-Tech has donated the monthly WiFi fee to operate the lights. They are a welcome addition to the historic decorations featured in our famous holiday display, with color versatility and cost advantages that will go on throughout the year.

WaKeeney's Get Lit Campaing

Photo courtesy of Inception Lighting

Beauty and Benefits Added to Our Christmas Lights

The addition of the lights represents a new step in the history of holiday decorating in Downtown WaKeeney. New LED technologies provide benefits unimaginable in the early days of our Christmas Festival when Art Kraus and Jake Heckman hand-built the wreaths, bells, and stars wood cutouts that hang from the garlands strung across Main Street and Russell Avenue.

Trego - Lights Installation1

Along with beauty and flexibility, these lights are easy to install, operate, and maintain, with lower overall costs for our community. The entire system is guaranteed to last for up to ten years and we’re expecting the overall cost savings will be in the thousands of dollars, with an estimated yearly utility bill of only $300!

Trego - Lights Installation

The Season of Giving Has Already Begun

Thank you to all the people, businesses, Nex-Tech, and the City of WaKeeney for donating their time and money to this effort to light up Downtown WaKeeney!

Get Lit Weber Girls

There is still time to contribute to this community cause. A Go Fund Me  pagehas been set up for online contributions and the “Get Lit” shirts are available for purchase at The Studio 128 (128 Main St.) and Heartland Foods (401 Russell Ave). And, just like our famous Christmas lights, they come in six colors—red, green, yellow, grey, royal blue, and purple. They have the “Christmas City of the High Plains” logo on the front, and the “Get Lit” logo on the back and sell for $12 in S-XL and $15 for 2X.

Join us at the Dedication Ceremony When We Turn on the Lights!

Installation of the LED lights will take several weeks and plans are already set to turn the lights on as soon as they are done. We invite you to join us at the dedication ceremony scheduled for Saturday, November 24, 2018, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, at our“68th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.” It’s the perfect time to show our gratitude to all the fabulous people who have made this next step in our holiday celebration possible.

 

 

 

 

The “Get Lit” Campaign Will Shed New Light on WaKeeney’s Downtown

The Christmas City of the High Plains will be bringing even more sparkle to the holiday season with added lights acquired through the “Get Lit” campaign.

Christmas in July

The “Get Lit” campaign is an initiative to raise money for new programmable, color-changing LED light strands from Inception Lighting. Once installed, they will become a year-long feature along the top of the buildings lining Downtown WaKeeney.

Christmas in July

Photo from Inception Lighting

LED lighting is changing the game in industrial decorative lighting by providing three additional benefits for our city.

Maximum aesthetic appeal

The light strand’s mechanics are designed to be discretely attached to the architecture of the buildings so the brilliance of the lights is the only operational part seen, day or night. The multi-colored lights are easily programmable so the city can choose different combinations throughout the year for any celebration. Imagine red, white and blue on July 4thand purple and gold on game days!

WaKeeney's Get Lit Campaign

Photo courtesy of Inception Lighting

Simple to install, maintain, and operate

The LED strips come in three lengths to allow for custom light placement. This means there will never be an appearance of a missing light or a need to cut one of the strips.If a light goes out, the product has a detachable lid that will enable easy replacement of only the old lights and not the entire fixture, unlike similar products. Check out this video from Inception Lighting to find out more about the installation process.

WaKeeney's Get Lit Campaing

Photo courtesy of Inception Lighting

Long-lasting brilliance and savings

Because LEDs are housed in plastic, rather than metal, they emit significantly less heat compared to all other sources of light. This feature also makes them less expensive to install and operate. And, the entire system isguaranteed to last for up to ten years! Altogether, we’re expecting the cost savings will be in the thousands of dollars, with an estimated yearly utility bill of only $300!

Get Lit Weber Girls.JPG

Help us light up WaKeeney

There are multiple ways you can contribute to the “Get Lit” campaign. A Go Fund Me campaignhas been set up for online contributions and the same shirts you may have seen being sold at the fair are also available at The Studio 128 (128 Main St.), and Heartland Foods (401 Russell Ave). And,just like our famous Christmas lights, they come in six colors—red, green, yellow, grey, royal blue, and purple. They have the “Christmas City of the High Plains logo on the front, and the “Get Lit” logo on the back and sell for $12 in S-XL and $15 for 2X.

Stop by The Studio 128 or go to their Facebook pageor stop by Heartland Foods to purchase shirts for you, your friends, and your family to help us “Get Lit” in Downtown WaKeeney!