Lighting to greet De Soto’s 150th year
Mayor Dave Anderson said the sixth time he throws the switch to light the Mayor's Christmas Tree in front of City Hall would be different.
"It will be nice," he said. "The committee has put a lot of work into this. I just hope we have enough room for everyone."
The committee is the De Soto Sesquicentennial Committee, which chose the De Soto Chamber of Commerce's annual Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting as the kickoff event for the city's 150th year anniversary celebration. The event will start at 5 p.m. Saturday on the steps of the De Soto Community Center, 32905 W. 84th Street.
"It will be just a true community and family event," De Soto Chamber of Commerce executive director Sara Ritter said.
"We have more entertainment than we've ever had in the past," said De Soto City Clerk and Sesquicentennial Committee Chair Lana McPherson. "I think we're going to have something for the young and old and everyone in between."
The evening will include lots of music, a visit from Santa Claus, petting animals for children and refreshments against what forecasters are saying will be a cold evening.
McPherson said the music would include the traditional numbers by the De Soto High School Band and Madrigals. They will be joined by Christ's Quartet and Santa's Trio.
Adding to the evening's entertainment will be a performance starting at 6 p.m. by members of the Kansas Old Time Fiddlers, Pickers and Singers. Those who enjoy the music can return to the Community Center in the spring to listen to acts performed at the Kansas Old Time Fiddler, Pickers and Singers state convention, which will be in De Soto in conjunction with the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration.
Santa would arrive from 5:45 to 6 p.m., depending on how long the music lasts, McPherson said.
"This year, we're going to have something different as far as Santa Claus," she said. "We're actually going to have an area in the gym with a tree and an area that will make a nice photo backdrop.
"Parents can bring their cameras and take photos of their children. We thought we'd make it a little more like the North Pole this year."
If the weather isn't too much like the North Pole, there would be small animals for the children to pet, McPherson said.
To help those attending beat the chill, the women of TeamBank and Reece and Nichols will have cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and cappuccino available at no charge.
On sale inside will be the commemorative items for the city's sesquicentennial. Those include a throw, pewter plate, long-sleeved T-shirt, cap, calendar, wristband and -- just in time for Christmas decorating -- tree ornaments.
Ritter will be busy this week putting up lights on the chamber's office in Memorial Hall downtown next to the De Soto Fire Department.
"They are going to be red for the fire station," she said.
Ritter said she had to put up the lights to add the credibility to her request that other downtown businesses get into the holiday decorating spirit. She noticed a number of businesses have and hoped others join them to make Saturday's event more special.
Having asked the businesses to decorate, Ritter is now asking they hold off displaying the lights until Saturday evening.
"We would like to have a special kickoff Saturday to light up the area and make it a special meeting," she said.