Ask parent Linda Braly what house she lives in and she’ll tell you the one with the grinch. No Braly does not live in Whoville, she lives on Candy Cane Lane.
Candy Cane Lane is a cul-de-sac neighborhood that’s locally famous for their holiday displays. Located off 79th Street between Nall and Llamar on Outlook Lane, this neighborhood has become a traditional place to visit for many Kansas City families for the past 54 years.
“We have people come and say they’ve come down when they were little and now they’re taking their grandkids here,” Braly said.
Developed by J.C. Nichols, Candy Cane Lane was made with the idea in mind for lighting displays. With the drive-thru appeal and the outlets at each corner of their driveways, this neighborhood is perfect for holiday displays.
And the neighborhood is perfect to continue the tradition. With 21 kids at one point, the neighborhood has been a special place to grow up.
“It’s fun having the specialty of it,” said East graduate Abby Stolberg. “Growing up I was known as the ‘Candy Cane Lane Kid’ in elementary school, middle school and even high school.”
When the neighborhood isn’t being lit up, summers are spent playing at the neighborhood basketball hoop in front of the huge tree in the center of the cul-de-sac.
“It’s just that my kids grew up here and it’s just the memories,” Braly said. “The tradition of it.”
And the neighborhood has continued that tradition. Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, all the neighbors meet at a house to have a brunch together. The rest of the day is spent decorating and getting their houses ready. Every house puts up the traditional light up candy cane, made of stovepipe, that each house has at the end of every driveway. Even the one vacant house in the neighborhood has the candy cane.
“If there was power there to the house, we would have put lights up,” East parent and homeowner Laurie Stolberg said. “Seriously, we would.”
As the sun drops, everyone meets at the tree in the center of the cul-de-sac to have hot cocoa and pass out candy canes. The Kansas City Power & Light Company comes each year and strings lights onto the 65 foot tall tree. They bring in a boom truck to string the tall tree and are very greatly appreciated.
People flock to the lighting ceremony every year and continue to come day after day. However, traffic at Candy Cane Lane is down from what the neighborhood usually gets. The neighborhood thought that the greater amount of publicity they’ve received this year due to the controversy of the the Falmouth Lighting Display would have increased their traffic.
“Mr. [Mike] Babick not having his display I think has kind of affected [the traffic],” Braly said.
This was the first time that the City of Prairie Village required a permit to host a holiday display. Out of three holiday displays, the Dorr Family Display (by the senior parking lot), Candy Cane Lane, and Babick’s Falmouth Lighting Display, Babick was the only one who wasn’t able to receive a permit. In order for Babick to continue his display, known for animations in every window of his house, he would have had to pay thousands of dollars to pay for signs and the rent of cops.
Candy Cane Lane found the process easy, just needing contact information and a display explanation, and were given the permit. Despite not putting up his own display, Babick has still found ways to be a part of the Candy Cane Lane display.
“The whole controversy this year is that he couldn’t put up his display and we do feel bad for that,” Braly said. “He actually has helped even. We have that little candy man out there that moves because his big display is about animation but he’s helped us get started.”
Despite this, the neighborhood is used to seeing the large amount of vehicles in the neighborhood, including the limos and buses they get.
“We get limos that are so long they can’t make it all the way around the corner,” said Braly.
The neighborhood continues the work of keeping Candy Cane Lane up to standards. Braly often repaints her displays and keeps the vintage displays looking in good condition. The neighborhood hope to raise enough money to change all the lights on the tree in the center of the cul-de-sac to LED to promote a “green” Candy Cane Lane. This process will take a couple years but the neighbors are optimistic. The ultimate upgrade would be syncing the lights to music.
“If one of us wins the lottery that’s what we are going to do,” said Braly. “Sync the whole thing to music.”
The neighborhood will continue to put on the displays for as long as they can.
“We gotta do it you know but you want to do it cause so many people get enjoyment out of it,” Laurie Stolberg said.