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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Celebrating the Holidays at WaKeeney’s 69th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

It’s Christmastime in WaKeeney, Kansas!

Our community elves have decorated the streets of Downtown WaKeeney with garlands and greenery in anticipation of the 69th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 30th. It’ll be a day of holiday activities, community gatherings, and Christmas shopping to help you get ready for the Christmas season to come.

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Christmas Bazaar

Place: Trego County Fairgrounds & TCHS Commons

Time: 9 AM – 4 PM

Finding the perfect gift for your hard-to-buy-for friend is easy at the Trego County Home Based Business Association’s 2019 Christmas Bazaar. Vendors are offering a variety of household and beauty items, handmade Christmas decorations, and much, much more!Don’t forget to treat yourself to one of these festive finds!

This year the Bazaar has grown to fill three buildings; the Commercial and 4-H Buildings at the Fairgrounds, as well as the commons area inside the High School across the street. Along with vendor booths, there will be holiday music, door prizes, and a delicious lunch stand to keep you full while you shop.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Display

Place: Trego County Historical Society Museum

Time: 10 AM – 4 PM

Visit Christmas-past at the Trego County Historical Society Museum. The return of their special holiday display “The Twelve Days of Christmas” will be open to the public every day the museum is open from November 30thto January 6th. The collection features holiday and winter treasures from the past that many of us remember fondly from our parents’ and grandparents’ homes.

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FREE Santa’s Sleigh Virtual Reality Ride

Tickets: VFW Hall (Booth opens at 2:30 PM)

Time: 3 — 8:30 PM

Experience the excitement of riding in Santa’s sleigh with a turn at the virtual reality experience VR InMotion’s “Santa’s Sleigh Ride!”This popular attraction is a favorite among Trego’s residents, so get your FREE tickets at the VFW Hall before heading off to “sit” in the passenger seat of Santa’s sleigh.

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Live Reindeer

Place: Main Street

Time: 4 – 8 PM

Meet the animals Santa relies on to get his packages to everyone around the world. Our reindeer guests will be found on Main Street in Downtown WaKeeney. These ambassadors from the North Pole will be waiting, right along with all of us, for Santa’s arrival later under our Christmas tree.

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Child ID Kit

Place: VFW Hall

Time: 4 – 5:30 PM

Give yourself the gift of peace of mind this year by completing a child ID kit with the Trego County Sheriff’s Department for each of your children. The event is open to everyone and will ensure that your child’s information is up-to-date and handled safely.

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Soup Supper

Place: VFW Hall

Time: 4:30 PM

The community spirit is alive and well at the VFW Auxiliary’s Annual Soup Supper. Come one, come all to this communal meal and enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade soup and dessert made by the talent chefs of WaKeeney’s VFW. There will also be a raffle during the event.

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Santa’s Downtown Workshop

Place: Main Street

Time: 5 – 8 PM

Make the rounds of WaKeeney’s Downtown business community and fill your shopping cart with holiday cheer! Visit each store to find great holiday gift ideas, crafts for the kids, and games, snacks and drinks for everyone! Look for the “Santa’s Downtown Workshop” posters at participating businesses and enjoy some shopping time before Santa’s arrival.

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69thAnnual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Place: Main Street & Russell Avenue

Time: 6 PM

Gather together with friends and loved ones under WaKeeney’s 35-foot Christmas Tree to witness the big moment when the Christmas lights go on and our holiday season officially begins in WaKeeney! Throughout the four-blocks of Downtown WaKeeney you’ll find all the colors of the rainbow in swags, border lights and, of course, our beautiful tree in the center of it all. The lights stay on through the New Year to keep our spirits merry and light throughout the Holiday Season!

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Santa Claus Arrives with Children’s Treats

Place: North Pole Park

FREE Tickets: VFW Hall (Booth opens at 2:30 PM)

Time: 6:15 — 8:30 PM

Get your wish list ready for your visit to Santa! All the good boys and girls will have a chance to sit on the big guy’s lap inside his own “Santa’s workshop” located in North Pole Park on Main Street. Children can tell Santa what they want for Christmas, receive a treat, and check to see if they are on his “Nice” list.

 

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is held every year on the Saturday night following Thanksgiving. The lights will be turned on every night after that until after the New Year begins. Viewing our Downtown light display is always free to the public and visitors travel from miles around to enjoy the bright lights that decorate our town. It is considered one of the largest Christmas light displays in Kansas and gives WaKeeney the distinction of being “The Christmas City of the High Plains.”

Start the Christmas season with family and friends under WaKeeney’s Christmas lights on November 30that the 69thAnnual Christmas Tree Lighting! We’re conveniently located on I-70, halfway between Kansas City and Denver, 300 miles either direction.