You'll love the holiday season in Kansas! Communities around the state come together and put on incredible light displays and events to celebrate our festive holidays. While these events may look a little bit different in 2020, they are a perfect endcap to a wild year.
After a year like this, who knows what the holiday season may look like, so take the time to double and triple-check that the event is still occurring before your road trip!
Considered the largest Christmas tree and light display between Kansas City and Denver, since 1950 the Christmas-made town of WaKeeney, has held the title “Christmas City of the High Plains.” From the Saturday after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the town magically transforms into a holiday wonderland. Make WaKeeney a tradition – see the 35-foot tree of fresh pine, thousands of lights, handmade decorations, fresh greenery, and the North Pole that will make you think you’re not in Kansas anymore. This year will be the 70th celebration of this twinkling event, so it's not one you'll want to miss! The town will host a tree lighting ceremony on November 28th to kick off the holiday season complete with a visit from Santa Claus himself, but don't worry if you can't make it to the kick-off event... These decorations will stay up all season long!
2. Elk Falls
Now, we're taking the word 'holiday' pretty liberally on this one, but the 25th Annual Outhouse Festival in Elk Falls is a must-see event. You read that right... Elk Falls is the Outhouse Capital of Kansas, and they take their title seriously. Every year about 20 brave souls decorate their wooden thrones for their shot at glory.... Which in this case is a custom made stoneware chamber pot trophy. This contest will have you rolling with laughter and is perfect for kids of all ages, 9 to 99! The festival will also host a craft fair, quilt show, vintage camper gathering, Elk Falls Pottery open house and demonstrations, free 'gas' (aka ham and beans) and a bluegrass band in addition to the outhouse contest.
3. Fort Scott
Fort Scott National Historic Site was established atop a bluff overlooking the Marmaton River more than 176 years ago, but they aren't afraid of new technology. While their in-person Candlelight Tour has been canceled for 2020, they have decided to bring the event straight to you! This free virtual tour will air on the park's web page and Facebook at 7 pm CST on Friday, December 4. The tour will include images of the traditional 1,000 candle lanterns that traditionally adorn the site, and will feature six stops along the way. So, hop in your comfiest of clothes, grab some hot cocoa and enjoy the view from your very own home while mentally preparing yourself for the frigid temps the 2021 Candlelight Tour may bring.
Stroll, drive or ride through Hutchinson’s Hyde Park Neighborhood for the annual Hyde Park Christmas Luminaria. Scheduled annually for the Saturday before Christmas, visitors can expect an old-fashioned celebration in the decorative and historic neighborhood. Enjoy musical entertainment, horse-drawn wagon rides, along with cider and cookies in Hyde Park. Don’t forget to share your wish list with Santa at the corner of 20th and Washington in Hutchinson! This year's celebration will be on December 19.
With the chilly air and smell of wood fires, comes the twinkling of holiday lights. Isle of Lights in Winfield is a delightful Christmas display in Island Park on Main Street. And remember, new displays are added yearly to this illuminated wonderland! Wander through the park under dancing snowflakes and giant wreaths. The Isle of Lights is open nightly from 6-10 p.m., from November 22 through Dec. 30.
6. Cottonwood Falls
Chase County Country Christmas hosts everything from their famous fruitcake toss to horse-drawn carriage rides. Music and entertainment can be found alongside holiday shopping. This year's celebration will be slightly scaled back, but we promise it will be as charming as ever! Discover the small-town hospitality and holiday cheer in Cottonwood Falls, take a scenic drive down to Pioneer Bluffs for beautiful decorations and the perfect Christmas Card Photo Op, and watch the lighting of the Historic Caboose in Strong City. This year's festivities take place on November 28.
Lemon Park Lights is an annual drive-through event in Pratt that actually spans a one-mile drive with thousands of lights and animated displays. You'll find yourself marveling at the beautifully lit tunnel of trees as you pass under their dazzling branches and giggling at the sea monsters reflected on the lake, arguably one of the crowd favorites at the park. This year the Lemon Park Lights will run from November 21st to January 3rd.
Grab your coat and cold-weather accessories to take the family through an enchanted Christmas forest at Illuminations at Botanica. More than one million lights are strung atop trees in 30 holiday-themed gardens. November through December, Botanica Wichita transforms into a winter wonderland filled with dazzling lights, festive music, and a visit from the man of the hour – Santa Claus. Keep warm with hot chocolate and s’mores as you celebrate the season. This year's Illuminations will be a little bit different! They are offering both a walk through and drive-through option for 2020! The drive-through will be located in the main parking lot, the walkthrough is located in the garden. And remember, both the drive-through and walk-through options do require a ticketed time slot that must be purchased ahead of time in order to keep crowds low!
"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." That's right, Buddy the Elf is coming to the Columbian Theatre in Wamego! The entire family will love 'Elf the Musical', a modern-day holiday classic. We've got all of the information you need, from production dates to admission prices right here. And remember, there's room for everyone on the Nice List!
A Country Christmas at Fulton Valley Farms may just be your newest family tradition. It's a magical place where you can stroll through thousands of lights scattered around the farm, meet Santa AND his reindeer, view a living nativity and even have a Christmas dinner. The magic kicks off on November 27th and continues every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night until December 20th. This is a ticketed event, so we recommend purchasing them at FultonValleyFarms.com.