Mayor's Tree Lighting Kicks Off Springfield Festival Of Lights

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Mayor's Tree Lighting Kicks Off Springfield Festival Of Lights

By Mike Morgan. CREATED Nov 13, 2013

From An Edited Press Release-Springfield's annual Festival of Lights, presented this year by Mercy, will kick off at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23 at Jordan Valley Park. Mayor Bob Stephens 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.

Hundreds of school-aged children are expected to attend the tree lighting ceremony, which includes live music by the Children’s Choirs of Southwest Missouri and of course, a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Mayor will have special help from Springfield public and private schools’ first- and second-graders, who will parade with Santa through Jordan Valley Park to Hammons Field. Prizes are available for first- and second-grade classrooms with the highest attendance.

Mediacom Ice Park, located at 635 E. Trafficway, will again offer free ice skating, 6-8 p.m. Skate rental is $2.50. Springfield Cardinals will host a Cardinals Christmas following the tree-lighting ceremony. 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 letters to Santa.

New this year is “Illumination Celebration” at The Tower Club. The exclusive club is open to the public for a specially created “cruise ship-style” holiday buffet created by chef Brad Lyons. Dine high in the sky and view the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and fireworks from a special viewing area inside the restaurant. Cost is $35/person. Doors open at 5 p.m. Call 417-866-4466 for reservations. Reservations are filling up quickly.

Also new this year is a tree-lighting ceremony and window display reveal at Park Central Square at 8 p.m. Join hosts “The Four Jeffs” (Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Seifried; Mystery Hour’s Jeff Houghton; Skinny Improv’s Jeff Jenkins and Mother’s Brewery’s Jeff Schrag) and dance to the tunes of of “Move and Groove,” a three-piece jazz/funk band that should have everyone rockin' around the Christmas tree. A free shuttle to and from the Tower Club will run 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Festival of Lights is a six-week celebration containing a flurry of holiday activities in Springfield's Center City fromNov. 23 through New Year's Day.

Major events, in addition to the Mayor's Tree Lighting Ceremony, include: 

Candyland at the Footbridge, at the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge on Commercial Street, noon, Dec. 7.

Downtown Springfield Christmas Parade, 2 p.m., Dec. 14.

First Night Springfield2013, 8 p.m. – midnight, New Year's Eve.

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.

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