For the past five years, the Lee’s Summit Magic Tree has sparkled with goodwill, hope and holiday cheer for thousands of visitors from across the metro.
Strung with more than 13,000 multi-colored lights, the photogenic, 12-foot crabapple tree is located at I-470 and View High Drive and, can be admired through Jan. 5. Located on the Paragon Star development site, the tree is owned by Paragon Star developer and Magic Tree founder, Phillip “Flip” Short.
“Imagine what the world would look like through Magic Tree glasses,” said Short, who has seen, first and, the joy his tree inspires. “Just imagine what our future would look like.”
Short was inspired to begin the tradition after seeing similar trees in Columbia several years ago.
“My only motivation was that I thought it would be cool to have this beautiful tree in the middle of the field,” Short said. “That first year, I didn’t even know if people would come. I had no idea the impact it would have today.”
In five years, the enchanting Magic Tree has become an annual tradition for many. It is a holiday destination where friends and families come to celebrate the joy of the season. They take pictures with loved ones (two- and four-legged), leave notes with Christmas wishes, sing carols and even propose marriage.
For the past two years, the branches of this special tree have also stretched far beyond its Lee’s Summit location. This marks the second year the Magic Tree organization has partnered with Operation Toy Soldier to collect toys for children of military parents serving around the world.
In 2017, more than 500 toys were donated by visitors to the Magic Tree and then distributed to area children through Operation Toy Soldier and Whiteman Air Force. Visitors are again invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy when they come to see the Tree.
Despite the fact that it’s planted in the center of a 200-acre development site, Short wants the Magic to shine bright in Paragon Star, even if it has to move a bit.
“We’ve had offers to move the Tree to other venues, but it’s staying (here),” Short said. “We’ll transplant it away from the construction, but it will remain here.”
For more information, visit the Magic Tree website or Facebook.