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PHOTOS: Ugly Sweaters From Operation Breakthrough's 10th Annual Holiday Bash

The warm, fuzzy memories of holiday sweaters are a cherished harbinger of holiday spirit for some. For others, they are a gaudy sign of bad taste.

But on Friday night at Operation Breakthrough’s 10th Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, the Christmas sweater was celebrated in all its garish glory.

The annual event raises money and awareness for Operation Breakthrough’s mission to help children living in poverty in Kansas City. This year, organizers said they hoped to raise $20,000 for the charity.

Courtney Bowles said that the sweaters she used to wear as a child give her pause now, but she fully embraces the light-hearted fun of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.

"Looking back at pictures our sweaters were pretty horrendous," Bowles said. “But we’re Christmas spirits — big and bold. We are here to have fun and support a good cause."

"I don’t think looking great is what you strive for tonight," said Thomas Lueckenhoff wearing a colorful cricket jacket and a Santa hat. “I think the goal is looking gaudy and obnoxious which normally, I can really do.”

"I suit up, I don’t sweater down," said Chris Hutchings straying from the sweater theme dressed as Jack Frost in a sky-blue polyester suit with illuminated snowflakes.

A home-crafted sweater brought out the holiday cheer in Dave Fisher.

"My girls went on Pinterest and they kinda planned it with me, so it was a little family project,” said Fisher.

"It’s not so much the sweater. It’s the whole ensemble. It’s the hair, the glasses, the whole package all put together. The past couple years my sweater was kinda crappy so this year, I decided to kick it up a notch."

Three battery packs lit the Christmas tree atop Lindsey Heeter’s head. It was heavy, but Heeter said the effect was worth the effort.

"That’s what the Heeter family does," Heeter said. "We have a tradition of supporting local communities in whatever festive, fun way we can come up with."

Julie Denesha is the arts reporter for KCUR. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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