Mayor’s tree lighting to usher in 150th fete
After a year of groundwork, the De Soto sesquicentennial celebration will start in a little more than three weeks with the annual De Soto Chamber of Commerce Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting.
De Soto City Clerk Lana McPherson, who Mayor Dave Anderson appointed last year to head the De Soto Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee, said although final details of the event would be nailed down in two committee meetings this month, things were coming together.
"We'll have something for everybody -- the whole family," McPherson said.
The Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting will start at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at the De Soto Community Center, 32905 W. 84th St.
McPherson and De Soto Chamber of Commerce director Sara Ritter said the 2007 committee and the chamber had already confirmed the presence of a number of performers. As has been the tradition, the De Soto High School Band and the Madrigals will perform in front of the Community Center before the lighting of the tree.
But, that will not be the end of the night's entertainment. Once the tree is lit and Santa Claus shows up on the back of a De Soto Fire Department truck, a trio, quartet and cloggers will perform inside.
"They're all local people," Ritter said. "We're working on some others, but we haven't confirmed them all yet."
TeamBank and Reece and Nichols Premier Realty are sponsoring the event, Ritter said. The women of the building are going to bring cookies for those coming inside after the tree lighting, she said.
A Kansas City TV station has given an early commitment to flyover the lighting, Ritter said. It is her hope that it will have a special picture to share with the station's viewers.
"We're asking the businesses downtown and the homeowners in the area to decorate," she said. "We would like to have a mini-Plaza event where everybody turns their lights on in concert."
McPherson said those attending can support the 2007 committee, prepare for the sesquicentennial or perhaps do a little Christmas shopping while attending the lighting.
"We have a table with all the merchandise," she said. "We have long-sleeved T-shirts in two colors, caps -- not to mention other stuff."
The other stuff includes commemorative ornaments, pewter plates, a 2007 calendar with historic photographs of De Soto, and the opportunity to order throws with pictures of Abbott Hall, the Kaw River Bridge, City Hall and the barn at Zimmerman Kill Creek Farm on them.
McPherson said she was also hopeful some of those attending would volunteer to help with next year's planned events.
"We're hoping everyone gets excited," she said. "We'd like to see everyone spruce up their yard and decorate for the sesquicentennial."
The 2007 committee plans three more events for the sesquicentennial year. Like the kick-off event, two will be in conjunction with traditional community events -- the community Fourth of July fireworks show and De Soto Days -- and the third will be near the October date of the city's founding.