Tradition and family were the driving force for those who showed up and showed off at the Zona Rosa 13th Annual Kansas City Easter Parade. The event drew people from across the metro.
The parade allows anyone who wants to dress up and take a stroll to compete for Zona Rosa gift cards. Each year, an “outstanding” prize goes to the top girl, boy, man, woman, pet and family.
This year two families stood out and swept the event.
The Kern family from Olathe won this year’s outstanding family award. It was the fifth year the family participated. They wore matching teal outfits this year. Ten-year-old Ayshah won the prize for outstanding girl. The rest of the family, including Ayshah’s 5-year-old brother, Austin, dad Chad, mom Meaghan and great-grandfather Edward Montgomery stepped out for the top prize, which included a $1,000 gift card prize.
Meaghan Kern says the kids look forward to coming to the event. Afterward they go to dinner, then decorate eggs and go to church on Sunday.
“It’s a great family event and the kids love it. They love dressing up and looking good,” she said.
Eleven siblings of the Schutzman family (ages 10 to 30) also took the event in fashionable stride. Mom Judy Schutzman, of Kansas City, says her family, which includes 15 grandchildren and several in-laws, has enjoyed the parade for a few years. Nearly all of her children dressed up with heels, hats and bonnets for the event.
“We think it’s important to support efforts to bring back traditions and Easter is one of those traditions that I think has the ability to bring families together. That’s why we love it,” Judy Schutzman said. Several family members took prizes home.
Zona Rosa General Manager Rosemary Salerno says the event is part of Zona Rosa’s efforts to bring new life to old traditions. Kansas City had an Easter Parade on the Country Club Plaza for many years. Zona Rosa took up the event 13 years ago.
“I think people love it, because it’s an opportunity to dress up and wear your Easter Sunday best,” Salerno said. “We’re a casual culture now. People don’t get the chance to do that very much anymore.”
Zona Rosa’s foundation gave away $5,000 in donations to not-for-profit organizations that participated in the Easter Parade. This year’s top prize for a non-profit went to Willie Arthur Smith’s Marching Cobras. Money for the Zona Rosa’s Foundation is raised by the money customers pay in the shopping area’s parking meters.