Fireworks, Kansas City Chiefs enthusiasm and an eye-popping show splashed across the face of Union Station combined for a centennial blast Friday evening that wowed thousands.
After a Red Friday pep rally, the visual highlight of the night was a 10-minute montage of music and digital images 10 stories high and more than a city block wide.
A World War I dirigible appeared to come crashing out of the central arched window in front of Union Station. Other 3-D illusions that burst out toward the delighted audience included a Tyrannosaurus rex and the Titanic.
Huge columns of the facade even began to dance during one point in the multimedia display.
“We’ve never seen anything like that,” said Frank Ruester, who lives in downtown Kansas City. He came with his wife, Lauren. “We saw the short clip online and knew we had to be here. It was better than advertised.”
The program was a whirlwind history of Union Station and Kansas City, including construction of the depot, the two world wars, the Depression, the Union Station Massacre and the jazz age. The physical decline and rebirth of the station was also depicted in the $175,000 animation project created by Quixotic, Bazillion and Bic.
The program was sponsored by Ivy Funds, Waddell & Reed and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.
Union Station placed large scrims on the three arched windows to enable the projection. Lights in the Country Club Plaza area south of the station were dimmed for effect.
Spotlights shown on the Liberty Memorial at the appropriate moment in the storyline.
“We loved it. That was amazing,” said Maureen Liljegren of Overland Park. “It was like the 3-D was coming right at us, and I enjoyed the history.”
The show required a dozen 20,000-lumen projectors worth about $100,000 each and had to be gathered from across the country.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Hector Venegas of Kansas City. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the kids. I wish they could do a show every month.”
The fireworks show that followed included 4,000 charges from the roof of Union Station. Viewers on the hill in front of Liberty Memorial got the downtown skyline as a backdrop.
Union Station plans to post a film of the digital animation program on its website and to show it on the Extreme Screen Theatre.
Other centennial events are planned leading up to an open house with activities on Nov. 1-2. Go to unionstation.org for more information.
To reach Matt Campbell call 816-234-4902 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org