To past generations of Kansas City children, the holidays meant a visit with the fabulous Fairy Princess at Kline’s Department Store at 1113 Main Street. There, in Kline’s wondrous Toyland, yesterday’s youngsters told their fondest holiday hopes to the Fairy Princess. But the beautiful Fairy Princess did much more than listen. Being magical, she waved her wand to make a surprise gift appear for each child. This gift was a delightful prelude to the holidays when children received toys on their wishlist.
The Fairy Princess tradition began in 1935 when Kline’s first opened its Toyland. The brand new toy department incorporated the latest trends in child development. As Kline’s officials informed the “modern mothers and father” of 1935, “we consulted child psychologist and child experts” because “we wanted toys that would help your child develop a more alert mind, a healthier body, and a happier disposition.” And, as an additional incentive to lure modern parents to Kline’s, they presented the Fairy Princess. A child could visit Santa at any department store, but only Kline’s featured the unique Fairy Princess.
In the following decades, the white-gowned, love Fairy Princess continued to fascinate children as some aspects of the presentation changed. Yet, it mattered little whether the surprise package slid down a chute, revolved on a turntable, appeared behind doors in a fairyland tree, or laid in a festively decorated truck, because they Fairy Princess’s magic remained the same. Amazingly, so did the 25 cent fee Kline’s charged for a visit with the Fairy Princess from the 1930s through the 1960s.
The 1960s brought more and more children to this popular holiday attraction. Kline’s new branch stores in the Ward Parkway and Antioch Shopping Centers increased the number of children this retailer could delight. To reach even more children, Kline’s kept making the holidays special with the Fairy Princess until the late 1960s, shorty before the business closed in 1970.
In 1987, The Kansas City Museum revived the Fairy Princess tradition. In 2006, Zona Rosa teamed with the Museum to expand the Fairy Princess to the Northland retail development where she also appears each holiday season.
Today, twenty-eight years after reviving the tradition, the Kansas City Museum is please to present The Fairy Princess on the following Saturdays and Sundays in December: 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20; Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sundays from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 per child and no rsvp is necessary.