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Posted on: November 13, 2020

Mayor’s Tree Lighting Holiday Show and Festival of Lights Kickoff Nov. 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SGFFestivalofLights.com 

Each year, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure is honored to kick off the holiday season by officially lighting the “Mayor’s Tree” in Park Central Square. This tradition has grown tremendously over the past few years, morphing from primarily a children’s event to one which captures the attention of the entire community and draws spectators from around the region.

In recent years, the event has become an entertaining showcase of performing artists, bringing cultural institutions like Springfield Ballet, and Springfield Little Theatre, to a whole new generation of Springfieldians who may not have access to experience the joy of the arts. This year, we're bringing the show to YOU to enjoy right in your home. Tune in to KY3 at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 to watch performances by some of the Ozarks’ most talented artists. The show will culminate with Mayor McClure lighting the tree at approximately 7:55 p.m. 

The City of Springfield has partnered with the newly formed Ozarks Performing Arts League, (OPAL) a consortium of performing arts organizations (comprised of Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Ballet, Springfield Regional Opera and the Springfield Regional Arts Council) to produce and televise this phenomenal holiday show in the tradition of Springfield’s impressive and deep entertainment roots.

As in previous years, the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Show will kick off the annual Festival of Lights, coordinated by the Downtown Springfield Association and Downtown Community Improvement District.

The show is produced in conjunction with OPAL, Hotel Vandivort, Systematic Savings Bank and the City of Springfield. Here are a few story ideas about this unique event, as well as Festival of Lights events. 

• The Mayor’s Christmas Tree will arrive for installation in Park Central Square at 9 a.m. Nov. 17.
For more information, please contact Kristen Milam, kmilam@springfieldmo.gov or 417-864-1402. 

• The City is partnering with OPAL to help make this year’s tree lighting event possible. The Ozarks Performing Arts League (OPAL) is a voluntary collaboration between Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Ballet, Springfield Regional Opera, and the Springfield Regional Arts Council – four of the Ozark region’s leading arts organizations working together to help offset the devasting consequences of COVID-9 upon the arts economy. For more information about the partnership, contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov.
 

OPAL has established a fund managed by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks which will oversee all financial transactions. All donations will be processes through the CFO site and ultimately disbursed equally by the CFO to OPAL members. Donated funds will be used to a) offset past, current and anticipated revenue losses inflicted by COVID-19; b) maintain ongoing business operations; c) adapt and present performance content as the pandemic continues and; d) plan and market re-opening activities when the public health situation allows.
For more information about OPAL, visit opalarts.org or call 417-864-6199.

• Mayor Ken McClure is asking everyone, including area churches, to ring bells at 7:55 p.m. on Nov. 21 when the lights come on in Park Central Square.
For more information, contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov.

• Thanks to event partners Systematic Savings Bank and Hotel Vandivort, families are invited to take drive-through “Selfies with Santa” from their vehicles following the tree lighting, 8-9:30 p.m. Directions to find Santa: Start on South Avenue and proceed through the Systematic Savings Bank drive-through to find Santa and Mrs. Claus at the entrance to Vantage, facing Robberson Alley. The Mayor’s Commission for Children are again paying for copies of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to those who drive through to take a selfie with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Bank employees will hand the books out through the bank window for contactless delivery. A similar method will be used with Buddy the Elf distributing candy canes, via a chute.
For more information, contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov.

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• This year’s show will feature performances from Springfield Ballet, Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Regional Opera, Springfield Symphony, Studio Vie dancers, Grupo Latino dancers, pianist Luke Cooksey, vocalists Emalee Flatness and Matthew Hutchemann, Jessie Cowen and Shaun Munday and multi-instrumentalist Jin J X.
For more information, contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov. 

Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade

• The Downtown Springfield Association has changed plans for the treasured Downtown Christmas Parade to keep participants and the public safe. This year, the parade will be incorporated into a driving tour throughout the Festival of Lights season (Nov. 21-Dec. 31). Area marching bands, always a favorite part of the parade, will offer performances on Park Central Square on two Saturday nights, Nov. 21 and Dec. 12.

“The Christmas Parade is our gift to the community and we love celebrating the season,” Jennifer Moseley, DSA events manager, said. “The holiday lighting along the downtown route will allow patrons six weeks to enjoy many of Springfield’s favorite community spaces from the safety of their vehicle. The two special nights will allow us to treat southwest Missouri to the sights and sounds of the holiday season, with provisions for social distancing.”

Festive light displays will be set up at the Springfield Expo Center lot, Jordan Valley Park, Founders Park, Jubilee Park and Park Central Square. The bands will play 20-30 minute sets on the square. 

Event schedule

Saturday, Nov. 21

  • 7-7:30 p.m. — Drury University Panther Marching Band
  • 7:45-8:15 p.m. — Parkview Viking Band
  • 8:15-8:45 p.m. — Parkview Lassies
  • 8:45-9:15 p.m. — Kickapoo Golden Arrow Band

Saturday, Dec. 12

  • 2-2:30 p.m. — Central Kilties
  • 5:15-5:45 p.m. — Central High School Marching Bulldogs
  • 6-6:30 p.m. — Willard’s The Cutting Edge
  • 6:45-7:15 p.m. — Strafford Pride of the Tribe Band
  • 8-8:30 p.m. — Kickapoo Golden Girls

For more information, please contact Rusty Worley at DSA at rusty@itsalldowntown.com or 417-831-6200. 

History Museum on the Square’s Windows on the Square 

The History Museum on the Square’s outdoor (and free) Christmas Windows on the Square exhibit will be joined this year by a vintage holiday exhibit, Once Upon a Christmas Past, an exhibit inside the Voices of History Gallery showcasing Christmas decorations and related items from the 1850s through the 1960s. Both exhibits will be available Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays beginning Nov. 21 until Jan 10, 2021. General admission applies for the Once Upon a Christmas Past exhibit.
For more information, please contact John Sellars at 417-831-1976 or john@historymuseumonthesquare.org.

Small Business Saturday

Local merchants need our support this year more than ever. Consider shopping local on Nov. 28.
For more information, please contact Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Springfield Association or Mayor Ken McClure, via Cora Scott.

Free Ice Skating at Jordan Valley Park

Enjoy free ice skating at Jordan Valley Ice Park and holiday lighting at Jordan Valley Park. Admission is free; $3 skate rental or bring your own.  Check the calendar at ParkBoard.org/IcePark for additional Open Skate sessions, where admission is $5/youth, student and senior, $6/adult, $3/skate rental. Call 417-866-7444 for more information.

  • Sat., Nov. 21: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Thurs., Nov. 26: 5-6 p.m.
  • Sat., Dec. 12: 6-7 p.m.
  • Sat., Dec. 19: 6-7 p.m.
  • Fri., Dec. 25, 5-6 p.m.

For more information, visit ParkBoard.org/IcePark or contact Jenny Edwards at 417-224-5510 or jfedwards@springfieldmo.gov.

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