14th annual Holiday in the City features GPS scavenger hunt

The season for holiday fun is upon us and thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, Springfield residents and visitors from around the globe will once again enjoy Holiday in the City. Now in its 14th year, the event promises to delight with some familiar favorites and surprise with some new additions.

The fireworks display and Santa’s arrival, starting at 6 p.m., will remain the centerpiece attractions, while carriage rides, visits to Santa Land, local entertainers and food vendors offer reasons to spend the entire evening at the event.

“This continues to be such an enjoyable event each year,” said Maureen Fagans, executive director of Center City Association, the organization behind the event. Fagans leads a team of 12 permanent volunteers and countless others who work from June through November.

Each year, entertainment coordinator Chris Moore — who is also the executive director of the Springfield Arts Council — brings together talent to captivate the crowd. This year, he has booked perennial favorites The Frisch Marionettes and Joy Unspeakable. Joy Unspeakable, a mime who seems to come out of nowhere to startle and charm his audiences, will be sending his protégé for a new twist on a traditional theme. Carolers will float through the crowd, choirs will sing and the Springfield High School marching band will usher Santa into town during the parade.

Holiday in the City will feature a collaboration with local RTV32 for the first time this year for pre-event video advertising, a big screen display at the intersection of Fountain Avenue and High Street and live projections on buildings including 1 South Fountain. Geocachers — who use GPS devices to do scavenger hunts — can have fun searching for hidden treasures by visiting center-city.org for coordinates. The geocaches will be available throughout the holiday season.

Many downtown businesses, including Champion City Guide and Supply, Running with Scissors and Gourmet Gift Baskets, will remain open during the event to allow attendees the chance to do a little holiday shopping.

“We have so many wonderful shopping possibilities. This event started out as a way to increase interest in downtown, but now we have so many reasons for people to visit regularly. This is the perfect chance for people to see what we have to offer,” Fagans said.

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