Wintry weather has already visited the Wichita area this week, so it’s only fitting that the city’s major holiday events start this weekend.
Sure, a traveling performance of the “Great Russian Nutcracker” kicked off the festivities last weekend, but starting this weekend, you’ll start seeing more and more Christmas trees and glowing lights around town.
Bradley Fair will host its official Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony from 5-10 p.m. this Saturday, complete with traditional carriage rides through the shopping center at 21st and Rock.
Then, next week, Wichita’s traditional holiday attractions open.
Here’s your guide to seeing holiday lights in Wichita:
- The Arc’s Lights
Formerly known as Lights on St. Paul, this popular attraction opens its drive-through light display with more than a million lights on Thanksgiving Day. The Arc’s Lights is open from 5:30-9 p.m. Nov. 22-Dec. 28 (and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and Dec. 19, 20 and 23, and until 11:30 p.m. Christmas Eve). The entrance is off Douglas and St. Paul streets.
$10-per-carload admission required Fridays through Sundays, free-will donations accepted Mondays through Thursdays. Proceeds from the event benefit The Arc of Sedgwick County, which focuses on serving individuals and families of individuals with intellectual or learning disabilities.
Botanica’s signature event, Illuminations, starts on Black Friday this year and runs through New Year’s Eve. Illuminations features millions of lights throughout the gardens of Botanica, including live music and caroling, nightly Santa appearances, hot drinks and snacks for sale.
It is open from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 23-Dec. 31 (excluding Dec. 24-25) at Botanica, 701 N. Amidon.
This year, Botanica has added two artificial snow machines to supplement its choreographed light shows.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for members and children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and under.
- Lights on the River and Mayor’s Tree Lighting
It’s not a daily event, but it’s worth mentioning for those making longer-term holiday plans.
This free family event takes place from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Wichita Boathouse, 515 S. Wichita.
Floating, lighted orbs will be dropped into the Arkansas River during an official launch. The lights will be available for purchase on site. While there, enjoy wagon rides, a visit with Santa, and food from local trucks. There will also be fireworks.
At 6 p.m., Mayor Jeff Longwell will light the official city tree in Old Town Square. Trolleys will be available.