Best time to watch Plaza lighting ceremony: 2 a.m. Wednesday

11/25/2013 5:13 PM

11/26/2013 6:17 PM

Set your alarms now, because you don’t want to miss the Country Club Plaza’s lights being turned on at 2 a.m. Wednesday.

That’s right: It’s the day

before

the “real” lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving evening.

Plaza officials test the lights early Wednesday morning, looking for potential problems before the next day’s more celebrated event.

Over much of the last 35 years, I’ve enjoyed being with a few hundred other people on the Plaza who get to see the famous lights in a more relaxed, less-crowded venue.

Big bonus: Parking is a breeze.

You also aren’t stuck in traffic for hours getting to and from the Plaza. And you don’t have to feel compelled to shop at the stores open Thanksgiving night.

The biggest drawback is that, by not going on Thanksgiving, you won’t see the sheer joy on thousands of children’s faces as they watch the lights go on.

Then again, I went with my children for years to see the 2 a.m. lighting ceremony. They thought it was pretty special because they were about the only kids there.

Just something for parents to think about, especially if you aren’t big on the Thanksgiving evening crowds.

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