Kansas City’s historic Union Station celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend with a host of performances, activities, and exhibits guaranteed to keep the Kansas City public engaged in current and past histories of the former railroad station and centerpiece of Kansas City, Missouri.
Prior to the opening of the newest exhibit, the first permanent exhibit at the station, a Gala celebration has been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30. But, it’s the weekend celebration boasts the most encompassing party for the train station
For the celebration, Union Station plans a fun-filled weekend Nov. 1-2. The weekend features many free and family-friendly activities that will take guests to all parts of the station, a spokesman for Union Station said.
Union Station of Kansas City opened in the fall of 1914 and served as the transportation hub of the metro area long before the urban sprawl that now expands 30 miles or more in all directions. This weekend continues the celebration as Union Station welcomes all of Kansas City to see its newest exhibits and explore the many attraction in the station.
“Union Station will be filled with free live entertainment, fun family activities and excitement for this very special moment in Kansas City history,” said President and CEO of Union Station, George Guastello. “We invite the entire community and surrounding region to take part in our two-day free weekend celebration presented by Bank of America. This will be something you won’t want to miss; Kansas City will be buzzing about it for a long time afterward.”
On Friday, Oct. 31, 100 year history experience grand unveiling, the first permanent exhibit opens at 10 a.m. in the Grand Hall east side. The exhibit developed by Eisterhold Associates includes a new 5,000 square foot permanent exhibition of artifacts and personal stories in Mezzanine Levels 2 and 3 of Grand Hall.
Be among the first to experience the launch of a new virtual mobile app created by VML which brings historical scenes to life and allows the user to interact. See also the photography of Roy Inman, who has captured Union Station through his lens over the years, a spokesman said.
In its heyday, the Station welcomed trains and travelers around the clock and never closed. In the days before automobiles, buses, and airplanes, Union Station served as one of the biggest hubs in the Midwest..
Union Station’s trains transported soldiers to and away from homes during World Wars I and II. It welcomed travelers with hot meals at Harvey House where the famous Harvey Girls worked day, afternoon, and overnight shifts. It hosted dignitaries, actors, politicians, movie makers, and every possible type of individual in its long history, as seen in the historic photos in the permanent exhibit.
The Station also contain some sordid history, known as the Kansas City Massacre that involved a shootout with police and Pretty Boy Floyd and Machine Gun Kelley.
A centennial celebration continues as Union Station kicks off a weekend celebration with a gala on Thursday night, Oct. 30 and the celebration at the station continues all weekend, through Nov. 2.
Open House Weekend will launch with a special 100th Anniversary Ceremony followed by two full days of unique activities including a series of lectures from historians and the opening of Union Station’s newest permanent exhibitions, Union Station Stories, and a high-tech virtual history experience created by VML, a press release said.
In honor of the birthday bash, the station plans a jam-packed weekend with live entertainment, displays, exhibitions, movies, and guest speakers. The entire weekend is family oriented and encourages families to come and experience the history of the Kansas City landmark.
Guests can also expect a book signing by Union Station Photo Historian, Roy Inman; Kelly Urich from 99.7 The Point and Tony G from 103.3; Victor & Penny, live period entertainment; and live music acts, including Brush Creek Follies Band, Vine Street Rumble Jazz Band and Bad Dadz. Other highlights include the Centennial Swing Dance, featuring the Dave Stephens Band and Lonnie McFadden (free tickets must be reserved online at the Union Station website, and for those who missed it, the incredible 3-D digital display video by Quixotic will play in the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre several times on Saturday, Nov. 1.
One of the signature aspects of the birthday party is the opening of Union Station’s first permanent exhibit that invites guests to walk through three levels of exhibits of the station’s history. Located above the main station floor and on the walkways above the front doors of the station, the exhibit is handicapped accessible via elevators. Those visitors who can use the original staircases will find displays on the stairway walls as they climb through the three levels.
Thursday, Oct. 30 kicks off the celebration with a Gala from 6 to 10 p.m. on the Sprint Festival Plaza. At 5 p.m. classic depot hack and roadster arrive and park in front of Station. Guests arrive at 6 p.m. with cocktails prior to dinner from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., followed by a special centennial performance, the Station said.
On Friday, Oct. 31, 100 year history experience grand unveiling, the first permanent exhibit for Union Station opens at 10 a.m. in the grand hall east side. The exhibit developed by Eisterhold Associates includes a new 5,000 square foot permanent exhibition of artifacts and personal stories in Mezzanine Levels 2 and 3 of Grand Hall.
Be among the first to experience the launch of a new virtual mobile app created by VML which brings historical scenes to life and allows the user to interact. See also the photography of Roy Inman, who has captured Union Station through his lens over the years.
And, the celebration does not exclude sports fans. For Chiefs fans, the Kansas City Chiefs game against the New York Jets will also be shown on Union Station’s Regnier Extreme Screen. The pre-game show will begin at 9:30 a.m. To complete the tailgating experience, special concessions will be available to purchase. The event is free, but guests must reserve their seat due to theater capacity of 400. Reservations can be made at Union Station’s box office and online at the Union Station website.
“For fitness enthusiasts, Union Station’s Sprint Festival Plaza will host Kansas City’s largest yoga gathering on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. Amtrak exhibit train tours, the model rail exhibition and special pricing for Science City will also be available both days. And, yes, the new Xtreme BUGS exhibition will be open during regularly scheduled hours; standard ticketing prices apply.” a press release said.
Those activities and more await visitors to the Union Station 100 year celebration. More detailed information may be found on the Union Station website.