By Kevin Collison
The fourth annual Downtown Dazzle, downtown Kansas City’s holiday showcase, is decorating Washington Square Park this year with a new light show intended to create a festive, walkable district that includes Crown Center and Union Station.
It’s all part of a new strategy for the annual celebration that seeks to better connect all the holiday attractions in greater downtown for visitors, according to organizers.
“We’re creating an umbrella with Downtown Dazzle to roll up all the different experiences and use Downtown Dazzle as the connection to link all these attractions,” said Jessica Blubaugh, interim vice president for events at VisitKC.
The event also has been expanded beyond its previous three weekends in December to run from Nov. 24 through New Year’s Day.
Downtown Dazzle will kick off in Washington Square Park at about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24, right after the lighting of the 100-foot tall Mayor’s Christmas Tree at nearby Crown Center.
“We’re telling people to see the Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting and when that event concludes the lights will go on at Washington Square Park,” Blubaugh said.
“We’ll have a looping light show set to music with a variety of lighting components you can experience throughout the park.”
After entering the park at Pershing and Grand, holiday visitors can then exit and cross Main Street to enjoy the decorations at Union Station.
From Union Station, they’re a streetcar ride away from the holiday festivities at the Power & Light District, Crossroads Arts District, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the River Market.
There will also be a free trolley running on Grand Boulevard between Crown Center and the Power & Light District on Saturdays from 5- to 9 p.m. from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23.
This year, a comprehensive website has been introduced to inform people about Downtown Dazzle events.
There also is a “Be-dazzled Deals” coupon book available for $5 that has special offers at a large variety of restaurants, bars and other downtown businesses. It can be purchased at the VisitKC offices at 1321 Baltimore or the Crown Center customer service center on the second floor of the shopping center.