Christmas-themed events kick off across the community today, including the opening of historic sites for a few weeks.
Three historic sites in Independence – the Vaile Mansion, the Bingham-Waggoner Estate and the 1859 Jail & Marshal’s Home – are decorated for the holidays and open through December. Then they open for their regular seasons in the spring.
The Vaile, at 1500 N. Liberty St., has a “Victorian Elegance Home Tour,” today through Dec. 22 and Dec. 26-30. Hours are 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 on Sunday. Adults $6, children $3.
“Champagne & Chandeliers” at the Vaile is from 5:30 to 8:30 Dec. 2 with a Roaring ‘20s theme. Admission is $40. Call 816-796-6322 for reservations.
The Bingham-Waggoner at 313 W. Pacific Ave. has “I’ll be Home for Christmas” tours, today through Dec. 22 and Dec. 26-30. Hours are 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 on Sunday. Adults $6, children (6 to 16) $3.
The annual Twilight Tour is from 4 to 7 Dec. 3. Light refreshments, live music. Call 816-461-3491 for questions or reservations.
The 1859 Jail, at Main and Truman on the northeast edge of the Square, has “Spirit of Christmas Past” tours today through Dec. 22 and Dec. 26-30. Hours are 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 on Sunday. Adults $6, seniors $5, children (6 to 16) $3.
Some other events
• Christmas in the Park runs nightly through New Year’s Eve at Longview Lake Campground. Drive through and see more than 175 illuminated features. It’s free, but donations taken at the exit go to local not-for-profits. Hours are 5:30 to 10 Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 to 11 Friday and Saturday. From Interstate 470, take View High Drive south for two miles to Third Street/Longview Park Drive. Turn right and follow the signs.
• There are four Saturdays of “Carolers, Cookies & Santa” at the Visitor Experience Center inside the Truman Courthouse on the Square. It’s from 1 to 4 this Saturday, plus Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
• The Pharaoh Theater, 114 W. Maple Ave. on the Independence Square, is showing Christmas movies for $3 on Saturdays. It starts this week with “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 10 and noon.
• “The Night Before Christmas Carol,” with David zum Brunnen playing 17 characters from “A Christmas Carol” as well as Charles Dickens, is at 2 p.m. Monday at the Midwest Genealogy Center, 3440 S. Lee’s Summit Road in Independence. It’s performed again at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mid-Continent Public Library North Independence branch at U.S. 24 and Spring Street.
The mayor’s Christmas tree lighting in Grain Valley is during the city’s Holiday Festival at 6 p.m. Nov. 30 at Armstrong Park. Free hot chocolate and cookies, caroling, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free movie on a large screen.
The Independence Mayor’s Christmas tree lighting is at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at Hiram Young Park, and the popular Mayor’s Christmas Concert is at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Community of Christ Auditorium.
The Blue Springs Mayor’s Christmas tree lighting event is from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at City Hall downtown on Main Street.