KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Back for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, tens of thousands are expected to come to Celebration at the Station Sunday night.
The Kansas City Symphony outdoor concert is free for the community. Organizers hope this can be a time to honor those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice as well as a time of unity.
Since it started in 2003, the celebration has become a beloved tradition for Kansas Citians. With a crowd of 15,000 in its first year, some called it a new era in downtown KC.
“Before COVID, this even drew nearly 50,000 people every year,” said Jeff Barker, director of marketing for KC Symphony. “We can’t be happier to be back. We know so many people have been waiting for this, and it’s a real treat for us to be back on stage entertaining and really honoring the real meaning behind Memorial Day.”
Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a picnic, blankets and/or lawn chairs to sit on the lawn in front of the National WWI Memorial and Museum.
“It is kind of the front lawn for the city, but it is also a place for remembrance. And again, because Memorial Day is about remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Chris Wyche, vice president of facilities and technologies at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Wyche said his team works with several other agencies to help support security, including access to cameras such as those on the top of the over 200-foot tall tower.
The south side of the facility will be closed during the event Sunday for safety since that’s where the fireworks display will launch from, according to Wyche.
This year, a dozen vendors will also be at the event for veterans like Team Fidelis, which works to prevent veteran suicide through camaraderie with veterans, service members and their families. Team Fidelis looks for opportunities to get people together and connect, which is why the group says it's so important for them to be at community events like Celebration at the Station.
“That’s one of the things we do is we go out to where the veterans are because they’re out at the Celebration at the Stations, they’re at 5Ks, they’re at the local festivals with their families,” said Daniel Brazzell, executive director of Team Fidelis. “So that makes it so much easier for us to connect with them on neutral ground because they’re not walking into these organizations. So let’s go find them.”
The event starts at 5 p.m. and the Kansas City Symphony’s performance begins at 8 p.m. A full schedule of food trucks, performers and more for Sunday night can be found here.
Anyone planning to attend is asked to consider using the streetcar to bring them to the event. For those who cannot attend in person, Kansas City Symphony says KCPT will broadcast the performance live Sunday night.