A few days ago I had dinner with someone who isn’t from Sedalia.
And over the course of the meal the topic turned towards the holidays at hand and the revelation that our fine city is host to a statistically high number of spectacular Christmas light shows. And then, of course, we offered to guide him on a miniature tour of Sedville’s finest A/V Christmas experiences.
Yes, from the Wolf Christmas Lights in Hunter’s Ridge to the dazzling display brought to you by the Snyder Family at Inter-State Studios to the Bain Family Lights in Southwest Village.
And he was not displeased. Hooked, enamored, impressed, amazed — insert whatever word you like — he claimed to have never seen such things in person. He, of course, had seen that Internet video of the house that performs Trans Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards in Winter” (Who hasn’t?), but he seemed almost overwhelmed by actually seeing it happen in front of him. He took out his phone and took some video himself, and promised us that he would soon return with his family in tow so that they, too, could take it all in.
And his unbridled enthusiasm gave me an idea: If he was willing to come back just to see those seasonal marvels of modern electricity, then maybe other people would be, too. Maybe they just need to be made aware of them. Maybe they just need a convenient way to view them.
So here is what I’m proposing: We need to start a Sedalia Christmas light tour.
Imagine, if you will, a bus. Maybe it’s just an old school bus, maybe it’s something more — the base color scheme is city of Sedalia Work Vehicle Red and decked out in all the proper Christmas accouterments. There’s egg nog, hot chocolate, candy cane cappuccino and an air of yule. It doesn’t produce pollution, the exhaust pipe spews only cheer.
And where does it go? Straight past all the finest Christmas decorations in Sedalia. From the stationary, but still very nice (like those displayed by 2012 Christmas Lighting Contest Winner Linda Cruzan, 1200 S. Marvin Ave.) to the synchronized stylings of George Bain III’s pride and joy. (Seriously, stop by 2701 Station Ave. and see the great show that they’ve put together. They’re even taking donations for the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, so drop some change in the can while you’re there.)
Just charge a slightly more than nominal fee and I think the people would line up to get on a sufficiently festive holiday bus.
Yeah, I know that Sedalia’s Christmas-minded homeowners aren’t excessively unique. I know there are people all over the country who really go the extra mile when it comes to holiday decorations. But I think a well advertised seasonal tour could still draw in the mid-Missouri tourism, at least. It wouldn’t take much to get people to come to Sedalia to get a dose of Christmas.
From Cole Camp to Marshall, they’d come. There are people all over the state who strive to go to Kansas City to see the lights on the Country Club Plaza each year, so they would definitely come to Sedalia because our lights are better than theirs. (All right, maybe they’re just appealing in a different sort of way than theirs.)
It was great to see Santa Claus resume his residence on the front lawn of the Pettis County Courthouse this year. It’s great to hear about Studio A Dance Conservatory starting an annual staging of their take on “The Nutcracker” and it’s great that we always get a good turnout to the Thanksgiving night holiday season kickoff.
And all of that, combined with a killer Christmas tour, could begin to set Sedalia up as a Christmas destination.
It could net us some nonsummer tourism. Then more locals would buy into it and set up elaborate light shows of their very own and the tour would get bigger and bigger.
And then one day, we come to terms with what we’ve got and start an annual Christmas festival. And then we can all dress like elves, candy stripe all available poles and sticks and spontaneously break into song like we’ve living in a Rankin/Bass special.
Or maybe we’ll just have to live with a few buildings that have really amazing light shows. That’s all right, too.