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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Springfield’s annual Festival of Lights will kick off at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22 at Jordan Valley Park with the Mayor's Treelighting Ceremony, followed by a Cardinals Christmas with fireworks at at Hammons Field. 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. The Salvation Army will join the festivities this year, with children from its after-school program singing with the Eskimo Girls during event's the pre-show. Bell ringers and the Army's giant red kettle will also be on-site to accept donations. "With the help of the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, we will also be delivering toys to the children's hospitals at CoxHealth and Mercy Saturday morning," says Mandy Long, development director for The Salvation Army Springfield. 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) returns, 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 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 and “Windows at the Fox” at 7 p.m. The fun continues with 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 Nov. 22 through New Year’s Day. Major events, in addition to the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, include:
# # # For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), email@example.com