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WaKeeney Explorations
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WaKeeney Christmas Tree Raising

Address: 200 N. Main Street
WaKeeney, KS 67672
Telephone Number: 785.743.8325
Second Telephone Number: 877.962.7248

Email Address: travel@wakeeney,org

About this Exploration:

Each November WaKeeney is magically transformed into a holiday wonderland.   Then on the Saturday night following Thanksgiving, the prairie skies are aglow with over 6,800 colored lights as Santa Claus lights the magnificent handmade, 35-foot tall tree of fresh pine greenery.   The tree rests under a canopy of heavenly blue lights in the middle of the main downtown intersection at Main Street and Russell Avenue.   The canopy of blue lights radiates from the four ivory stars that crown the tree.   In addition, a four-square block area around the tree is draped with fresh greenery, handcrafted wreaths, bows, and bells, and, of course, more lights.

In 1948, Art Keraus, the owner of the local hardware store and a "man who could build anything," teamed up with J.H. "Jake" Heckman, the local banker and artist, to design this original Christmas display.   They spent many hours of long hard work in the basement of Keraus' Hardware making sure the decorations were just right.   Then in 1950 they rounded up their friends and neighbors to assemble the first Christmas display.

Over the years, many local volunteers have donated hundreds of hours in preparing for this annual event, which has become a source of pride for the community.   This Christmas tree and display is a tribute to the will and cooperation of our local residents.   Hundreds of volunteers have worked side by side for over 60 years on a common goal and they have learned about brotherhood -- one of the true meanings of Christmas.

The "Christmas City of the High Plains" is lit from the Saturday night after Thanksgiving through New Year's from 6-10 p.m.   This annual tradition is considered the largest Christmas tree and lighting display between Kansas City and Denver.

contact info
WaKeeney Travel & Tourism
P.O. Box 275
WaKeeney, KS 67672
Phone: 785.743.8325
Kansas Sampler Foundation   Kansas Department of Commerce - Travel Kansas   Get Rural Kansas