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Springfield Gears Up for Tree-Lighting Ceremony, Festival Events Saturday Nov. 23

Christmas tree new
(Photo credit: Wikimedia.org)

Springfield is gearing up for its annual Festival of Lights, which includes the lighting of two gigantic trees and a host of other special holiday events.

The holiday tradition will kick off at 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 23 at Jordan Valley Park. Cora Scott with the City of Springfield says Mayor Bob Stephens will light a 33-foot spruce tree.

“We really recognize first and second graders in the community, because they are the Mayor’s special invited guests. And they assist him in the lighting of the mayoral Christmas tree, and and all of the lights in Jordan Valley Park.  And we continue to add lights every single year. So we’re trying to build up a bigger and bigger presence in center-city with holiday lighting,” Scott said.

The tree-lighting ceremony will include live music and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Also that evening, Mediacom Ice Park will offer free ice skating from 6-8 p.m. You can rent skates for $2.50.

The Springfield Cardinals will host hot chocolate, candy canes and a fireworks show to holiday music.  And new this year is a special event at The Tower Club, which overlooks Jordan Valley Park and the ball park. Again, Cora Scott.

“The Tower Club has partnered with us. I’ve always thought that it would be an amazing opportunity for people to be able to see the lighting ceremony and the fireworks on the field that take place after the lighting from that vantage point of the Tower Club. Well, they decided to open to the public this year, and there is a charge for that event because theirs is a ‘cruise ship-style’ buffet  that’s gonna be served, and it’s $35 a person. But if people want to take advantage of that, all they have to do is call and make reservations,” Scott said.

For that special event, you can call 417-866-4466 for reservations. Reservations are filling up quickly, Scott said.

All other events are free, including a second tree-lighting ceremony and live jazz holiday music at Park Central Square at 8:00 pm, also on the night of Saturday, November 23.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Davidson.

Additional information and links from the City of Springfield:

“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) invite the public to join them in dancing 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. The presenting sponsor of the event is Mercy and other sponsors are Midwest Family Radio and the Springfield Cardinals.