Springfield heralds the holidays with two tree-lighting ceremonies Nov. 22
Springfield’s annual Festival of Lights will kick off officially at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22, at Jordan Valley Park with the Mayor’s Treelighting Ceremony, followed by a display of fireworks at at Hammons Field celebrating a “Cardinals Christmas.”
Mayor Bob Stephens, with help from first- and second-grade students, will signal the start of the holiday season by lighting a 33-foot Norway spruce, located in the park, east of the Mediacom Ice Park. The musical tree and surrounding park will be lit up with thousands of lights.
Hundreds of school-aged children are expected to attend the tree-lighting ceremony, which will include live music, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a parade with Santa through Jordan Valley Park to Hammons Field, where the Springfield Cardinals will host a Cardinals Christmas. Children will be able to visit with Santa and enjoy hot chocolate and candy canes. The Cardinals event will end with a big bang: a fireworks show set to holiday music.
Santa’s mailbox (a decked-out mailbox provided by the U.S. Postal Service) will be on-site Saturday night only, for children to send their letters to Santa. Free parking is available at Mediacom Ice Park and Hammons Field. Convenient parking is also available for a fee at the Jordan Valley Car Park on Trafficway. The ice park, located at 635 E. Trafficway, will again offer free ice skating, 6-8 p.m. that evening. Skate rental is $2.50.
If you’d like to take that special someone to dinner and watch the tree-lighting activities and fireworks from above, the “Illumination Celebration” at The Tower Club returns this year. The exclusive club is open to the public for a special holiday buffet. Doors open at 5 p.m. Call 417-866-4466 for reservations.
Downtown Springfield and the Downtown Community Improvement District will also host a second tree-lighting ceremony on Park Central Square that evening for the “older kids.”
The History Museum on the Square will unveil its holiday display at 7 p.m. and “Windows at the Fox,” followed by a special performance by Tuba Christmas on the gazebo as Park Central Square lights up at 7:30 p.m. The downtown Community Improvement District will provide hot chocolate on the square during the festivities. Coffee Ethic will host an after-party with specialty brews from Mother’s Brewery.
Festival of Lights is a six-week celebration containing a flurry of holiday activities in Springfield’s Center City through New Year’s Day.
Major events, in addition to the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, include:
- Historic C-Street Candyland, noon-2 p.m., Dec. 6.
- Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade, 2 p.m., Dec. 13.
- First Night Springfield 2014, 8 p.m.-midnight, New Year’s Eve.