Two major downtown events will continue this year under the direction of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Holiday in the City and the Springfield Farmers Market were previously managed by the Center City Association, which dissolved earlier this week after serving as the advocates for downtown since 1998.
“Center City has served a valuable role in this community,” said Theresa Hartley, the association’s board president said in a statement. “We’re confident that our signature events like Holiday in the City and Farmers Market will continue to prosper and grow under the CVB’s leadership.”
The CVB promotes tourism in Clark County, which has a local impact of more than $360 million annually.
“Bringing Holiday in the City and the Farmers Market under the CVB’s wing is a positive step towards ensuring long-term sustainability for these quality events that the Center City Association has fostered,” said Mike McDorman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield. “Our CVB is excited to provide support to these community events, and we look forward to growing these events with a group of engaged volunteers and the community at-large.”
Holiday in the City has been held the weekend after Thanksgiving since 2000, bringing thousands of people downtown. The Springfield Farmers Market, which re-opened in 2006 and is held between June and September, also serves as a major attraction to the downtown, bringing people and vendors from across the region.
The CVB is funded by a lodging tax collected by local hotels with an annual budget of about $450,000. The events will be funded by local stakeholders as they were in the past, not taxpayer dollars, Schutte said.
“From our standpoint these community-facing events are a logical next step for the CVB in terms of building Greater Springfield’s overall image and perception,” said Chris Schutte, director of the visitors bureau. “While the management of these events represents a substantial investment of both time and finances, the impact on our community’s quality of life is immeasurable.”