The epic ushering-in of the holiday season in Springfield doesn’t begin with Black Friday sales or hanging lights and decorations. That honor goes to Holiday in the City.
The popular event combining live music, lights, activities, the annual downtown tree lighting, Santa’s arrival and capped with fireworks will return to the city’s core block on Saturday, Dec. 7. Activities will begin at 1 p.m. with Holiday in the City events at 4:30 p.m. and run through 8 p.m.
The event is hosted by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. Admission is free.
Holiday in the City strives for a sense of tradition with things that speak to the season, yet always incorporating new things. It’s that blend that makes it the largest single downtown event at the cost of more than $100,000 according to Chris Schutte, chamber vice president for marketing and communications.
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“It’s important for people to know it’s managed by the Chamber and Visitors Bureau, but it doesn’t happen without most of it being underwritten by 125 to 150 sponsors,” he said. “It means something to them.”
A tradition along with a newer returning activity will kick things off at 1 p.m. when SantaLand opens at the Heritage Center of Clark County as well as a life-size version of the board game CandyLand at the Clark County Public Library, which started in 2018. Both will be open until 5 p.m.
Food trucks, the trackless train and carousel and holiday market will open at 4:30, followed by live entertainment at 5:30. WHIO-TV personality and Springfield News-Sun reporter Jenna Lawson will be the event host.
Entertainment will be centered around the city tree this year and include the Northwestern High marching band, Shawnee High women’s choir, singers Harmony Brown and Jacob Hitt and musicians Par Tolliver and Dean Simms. DJ Derek Snowden will spin holiday classics throughout the event.
New attractions will include the Salvation Army’s Kettle Wars, with 12 booths hoping to earn the most donations to aid needy folks. Another will be the Aurora Max Light show, beginning at 6 p.m. Presented by the Now Device, downtown buildings will be illuminated with light mapping projections and interactive displays to add a high-tech complement to the traditional festive lights and decorations.
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Activities will also be added in the Bushnell Building for those wanting a break indoors. Also new is a Holiday Shopping Extravaganza at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co., 4-9 p.m. with hand-made gifts by local artists.
Visitors can also view the live ice sculpting and nativity scenes and pick up hot chocolate from vendors. Santa’s arrival parade and the tree lighting will be 6:15-6:45 p.m. and the night capped by the Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks display starting at 7:30.
Holiday in the City is a way to forget about shopping trips and other demands and just a chance to enjoy the spirit with friends and neighbors.
“This is a true community event for those invested in our city,” said Camaren Sloan, Convention and Visitors Bureau events manager.
HOW TO GO
What: Holiday in the City
Where: Downtown Springfield
When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 1-8 p.m.
More info: www.facebook.com/holidayinthecityspfld/