There are a few times during the year when the whole community comes together to celebrate in a festive way. Center City Association’s Holiday in the City, which is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is arguably one of the best event of its kind anywhere. In its 14th year, the daylong celebration kicks off the holiday season in style right in the heart of Springfield’s downtown.
An event of this magnitude takes a great deal of planning, financial support and approximately 200 volunteers to pull off. A steering committee begins planning for the daylong festival seven months in advance. This group not only plans the activities that will make the visitor’s experience special but also solicits much-needed financial support from sponsors, businesses, and individuals who understand the annual event’s importance to our community. This committee also helps assemble the volunteers that it takes to run the many attractions located on and around the core block of downtown.
The day includes many attractions for the whole family to enjoy, especially the little ones. Along with the Christmas tree and lights that can be seen on buildings throughout the core block, there is the pageant, the popular Santa Land, carriage rides and a carousel. There are also street performers, food vendors and many other fun activities happening throughout the day. This year’s event concluded with a parade that featured a team of Clydesdale horses owned by Express Personnel Services, and of course, Santa Claus. Then it was time for the best fireworks yet! All I can say is, “WOW!”
This year was extra special to me because, through the efforts of many, thousands of people were able to see the resurgence of office, retail, and restaurant activity happening in our downtown. They could also see the hard work by the City of Springfield in the new brick-paver streetscapes and the two-way street conversion of Fountain Avenue between Main and Columbia. These improvements will only help further the opportunities for investments to happen downtown and for those who have already invested to be successful.
For those of you who attended this year’s festivities at Holiday in the City, you have your own memories to share of such a wonderful event happening in Springfield’s core. For those of you who didn’t attend, couldn’t attend, or didn’t know about it, make sure that you don’t miss it next year. It is on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Remember, we do not have to wait until next year’s event to enjoy the stores and restaurants that are growing in our downtown. They are open year round.
A special “thank you” to Center City Association, the many sponsors and donors, the volunteers, and to the thousands who came this year to enjoy Holiday in the City!
Have a Great Chamber Day!