Basehor was glowing with both excitement and holiday spirit at the annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Nov. 30. A variety of activities took place prior to the arrival of Santa and the official lighting of the tree.

Perky’s Café served 80 gallons of chili to attendees as well as 100 giant-sized homemade cinnamon rolls before and after the event. Both items sold out before the evening was over.

“At Perky’s, everyone is family,” said owner Tracy Smith. “My wife Ame and I set out with a vision for our restaurant and that’s why we are so closely involved in our community. We spend every day at the restaurant because it feels like home.”

The local Lions Club was on hand to serve hot chocolate and the Basehor Community Library also had a presence, accepting letters to Santa. Hats, gloves and scarves were being collected by Basehor Linwood Assistance Services to help area residents in need stay warm as the weather outside turns colder.

This year’s Christmas tree was donated by Basehor business Wilderson Tree Farm. Elementary students and parents shared their holiday spirit with the crowd by singing Christmas carols.

“We are really grateful for the warmer weather this year and I think it allowed many to come out and experience this event who haven’t done so before,” said Basehor Chamber of Commerce President Ashley Razak. “It was awesome to see such a big crowd from the community out here to welcome Santa and kick off the holiday season with us.”

The highlight of the evening was the arrival of Santa on one of the Fairmount Township Fire Department trucks. 

David Tyler drives from Oklahoma to Basehor to take the role of Santa. He can’t imagine doing anything else. Tyler has committed himself to playing Santa since a co-worker asked him to visit his daughter who was in the hospital with cancer.

Santa read to the youngsters and posed for pictures.

The day after the Christmas tree festivities, Tyler visited Glenwood Ridge Elementary School to visit with the students and share more holiday spirit.

“It’s not about the Christmas presents under the tree, it’s about the love in your heart,” Tyler said.  

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com