Heidi Gardner, the Kansas City native entering her third season as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” will flip the switch at the annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Thanksgiving night.
Country Club Plaza and KCP&L, soon to become Evergy, recently announced details for the 90th anniversary of the event, which draws tens of thousands of spectators and kicks off the local holiday season.
Gardner, who attended Notre Dame de Sion, the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri, will follow in the switch-flipping footsteps of fellow local funny folks Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet, Jason Sudeikis and Rob Riggle.
Rudd performed the honors in 1998, and Gardner told The Star last year that she was working at Panache Chocolatier & Café on the Plaza at the time.
“We were so busy, and I was making so many hot chocolates,” she said. “All I wanted to do was run over and see him turn on the Plaza lights. I didn’t get to, because there were too many people in line.”
Gardner returned to Kansas City in June to take part in the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, co-hosted by Rudd, Stonestreet, Sudeikis, Riggle and David Koechner.
As a featured player on “SNL,” she probably is best known for playing Angel, who is “Every Boxer’s Girlfriend From Every Movie About Boxing Ever” on “Weekend Update.”
She also writes and performs for the animated series “SuperMansion” and last year had her first major role in a feature film, playing Melissa McCarthy’s roommate in “Life of the Party.”
Although Gardner no longer lives here, she remains a Chiefs and Royals fan.
“We are proud to have Heidi Gardner join us at 90th Annual Evergy Plaza Lighting Ceremony,” said Kasey Vena, marketing and sponsorship director for Country Club Plaza. “She is a Kansas City fan favorite, and we know she will add an upbeat, fun energy to this year’s event.”
Who has flipped the switch
2018: Mayor Sly James
2017: Derrick Johnson, Alex Smith
2016: Jack Sock
2015: Gillian Flynn
2014: Alex Gordon, Dayton Moore
2013: Rob Riggle
2012: Matt Besler, Jimmy Nielsen and Kei Kamara
2011: Eric Stonestreet
2010: Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones
2009: Jason Sudeikis
2008: David Cook
2007: Hometown soldiers from each branch of the U.S. military
2006: Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier and Clark and Tavia Hunt
2005: Dick and Carol Vermeil
2004: Mickey and Minnie Mouse
2003: Kate Spade
2002: Trent Green
2001: Tony Gonzalez
2000: Maurice Greene
1999: George Brett (again)
1998: Paul Rudd
1997: Marcus Allen
1996: Buck O’Neil
1995: Roy Williams
1994: Derrick Thomas
1991: Oleta Adams
1990: Lee Greenwood
1989: Dee Wallace
1983: Nicolette Larson
Others: Walter Cronkite, Tom Watson, William Christopher